Particle Physics and Antimatter in Dan Brown's Popular Novel Angels and Demons

by Michelle Cason
Spring 2009
Physics 211X
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Popular science fiction often has its roots in true, cutting-edge scientific discoveries.  Angels and Demons introduced mainstream America to recent discoveries and techniques in particle physics, especially in antimatter.  Although the concept of antimatter itself is not all that of a new discovery, as Brown mentioned in his book, production and intense study has taken off more recently.  Because most of us are not accustomed to thinking of a completely opposite type of matter, the premise of Angels and Demons is fascinating albeit far-fetched.  Brown is adept at explaining particle physics in layman's terms since his protagonist is a very non-physicist art historian.  Although Angels and Demons becomes less physically realistic the more pages one reads, the scientific basis is essentially factual. 

This web page is for anyone who's interest in particle physics and antimatter has been piqued.


What is antimatter?

The possibilities and limitations of antimatter

Production  and storage of antimatter

CERN and the LHC

The Big Bang