NPR

Why Corned Beef Sandwiches — And The Rest Of The Universe — Exist

Somehow, at the beginning of time, there was an imbalance of matter and antimatter. That's how all the stuff in the universe came about. Scientists think they may find an answer by studying neutrons.
An imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe produced all the things in existence, including corned beef sandwiches. Source: Erik Rank

It's easy to take corned beef sandwiches for granted. There's no mystery about them. They simply exist.

But corned beef sandwiches, along with everything else in the universe, raise a critical question in the minds of physicists: Why do they exist?

In the earliest moments of the universe, energy turned into matter. But matter comes in two forms, matter and antimatter. And when a particle of matter encounters a particle of antimatter, they

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
Study Finds Century-old Combat Helmet Superior Shield Against Brain Trauma
Combat helmets have always been made to protect against blunt objects, not blast waves. Despite improvements in helmet design, battlefield brain injuries continue.
NPR3 min read
Flashy, Splashy 'Hunters' Is More Fun Than It Should Be
Al Pacino is the marquee attraction in Hunters, Amazon's new show about Nazi hunters in the 1970s — but the story is splashy and electric enough that he's not the most interesting thing in it.
NPR5 min read
Exclusive 1st Read: Erik Larson's 'The Splendid And The Vile'
The bestselling author of Dead Wake turns his attention to the first year of Winston Churchill's prime ministership, at a moment when Adolf Hitler overtakes France — and England could be next.