Former scholar helps score breakthrough discovery in physics
As a research scientist at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics in Vancouver, former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar Makoto Fujiwara has helped lead an international team of researchers to a groundbreaking discovery in antimatter.
According to the big bang theory, matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts when the universe was born. However, virtually no antimatter remains, a phenomenon that science has been unable to explain.
In 2002, Fujiwara and his team successfully produced antimatter atoms artificially in a lab. In 2010, they trapped antimatter for the first time – a major feat, because as soon as matter and antimatter meet, they annihilate each other. Last year, the team contained antimatter long enough to begin studying its properties “to see if there is any difference between matter and antimatter that might explain why antimatter disappeared,” says Fujiwara, who studied physics as a 1992-93 Rotary Scholar at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kofu South, Yamanashi, Japan.
“Now that we have trapped antimatter, there are so many things we can do with it,” says Fujiwara. Read more.