Haus der Kommunikation

The weaving error of the world
- why there is matter and not rather nothing

If one looks into the mirror, then one expects that the mirror image reflects his own face symmetrically. This is not always the case in particle physics. Particles and antiparticles do not behave like mirror images to each other. This fact is likely one important condition for our existence, the stars, the galaxies. One assumes that matter and antimatter have existed in equal parts after the Big Bang. If this equilibrium would have remained, then both would have destroyed themselves in enormous energy lightning and our current cosmos would consist only of radiation (light). Thus, at a certain point, there must have been created somehow an imbalance, the physical “mirror image” must have behaved somewhat differently. Today, particle physicists follow this glimpse in the mirror without counterpart. Since there is no more anti-matter, it needs to be created in particle accelerators as e.g. at the SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center).

In 1964 the American physicists Christenson, Cronin, Fitch and Turlay discovered at an accelerator a tiny irregularity with the decay of an exotic unstable particle, the K-Mesons (also calles Kaons). One calls this mysterious effect CP-violation. CP corresponds to charge and parity. P stands for the ordinary space reflection. C stands for the exchange of all particles by their antiparticles.

With experiments such as BaBar (see illustration of the detector above) at SLAC it is currently studied whether this symmetry violation can be observed also in other particles. High-energetic electrons hit their antiparticles, positrons, in head-on collisions. From the resulting energy new particles are created, among others B-Mesons and their antiparticles. The analysis of approximately 200 million decays of these B-Mesons shows that CP-violation is also observed for these particles.

Five german institutes (University of Bochum, University of Dortmund, TU Dresden, University of Heidelberg and University of Rostock) are members of the international BaBar collaboration with around 600 physicists.The BaBar group at the TU Dresden taking part at the art façade project participates in the analysis of the data as well as calibration and the monitoring of the electromagnetic calorimeter of the BaBar experiment. The detector generates a volume of data of approx. 30 TByte per year. The amount of simulated detector data, produced with hundreds of processors, is even about a factor of three larger. Since this data set requires enormous computing resources and are hard to handle, German BaBar groups are likewise active in the so-called grid-computing grid-computing.

"Wired" - the online monitor to observe the so called 'events':

Images are exported in near realtime from "Wired" to the art façade:

BaBar official project site - Particle Physics News and Ressources

Special Thanks to:
Heiko Lacker, Andreas Petzold (TU Dresden) & Joseph Perl (SLAC), Steve Sekula (MIT)