Home > Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon #1)(15)

Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon #1)(15)
Author: Dan Brown

Vittoria's expression became distant. "My point is that my father had always believed in God's involvement in the Big Bang. Even though science was unable to comprehend the divine moment of creation, he believed someday it would." She motioned sadly to a laser-printed memo tacked over her father's work area. "My dad used to wave that in my face every time I had doubts."

Langdon read the message:

Science and religion are not at odds.

Science is simply too young to understand.

"My dad wanted to bring science to a higher level," Vittoria said, "where science supported the concept of God." She ran a hand through her long hair, looking melancholy. "He set out to do something no scientist had ever thought to do. Something that no one has ever had the technology to do." She paused, as though uncertain how to speak the next words. "He designed an experiment to prove Genesis was possible."

Prove Genesis? Langdon wondered. Let there be light? Matter from nothing?

Kohler's dead gaze bore across the room. "I beg your pardon?"

"My father created a universe... from nothing at all."

Kohler snapped his head around. "What!"

"Better said, he recreated the Big Bang."

Kohler looked ready to jump to his feet.

Langdon was officially lost. Creating a universe? Recreating the Big Bang?

"It was done on a much smaller scale, of course," Vittoria said, talking faster now. "The process was remarkably simple. He accelerated two ultrathin particle beams in opposite directions around the accelerator tube. The two beams collided head-on at enormous speeds, driving into one another and compressing all their energy into a single pinpoint. He achieved extreme energy densities." She started rattling off a stream of units, and the director's eyes grew wider.

Langdon tried to keep up. So Leonardo Vetra was simulating the compressed point of energy from which the universe supposedly sprang.

"The result," Vittoria said, "was nothing short of wondrous. When it is published, it will shake the very foundation of modern physics." She spoke slowly now, as though savoring the immensity of her news. "Without warning, inside the accelerator tube, at this point of highly focused energy, particles of matter began appearing out of nowhere."

Kohler made no reaction. He simply stared.

"Matter," Vittoria repeated. "Blossoming out of nothing. An incredible display of subatomic fireworks. A miniature universe springing to life. He proved not only that matter can be created from nothing, but that the Big Bang and Genesis can be explained simply by accepting the presence of an enormous source of energy."

"You mean God?" Kohler demanded.

"God, Buddha, The Force, Yahweh, the singularity, the unicity point - call it whatever you like - the result is the same. Science and religion support the same truth - pure energy is the father of creation."

When Kohler finally spoke, his voice was somber. "Vittoria, you have me at a loss. It sounds like you're telling me your father created matter... out of nothing?"

"Yes." Vittoria motioned to the canisters. "And there is the proof. In those canisters are specimens of the matter he created."

Kohler coughed and moved toward the canisters like a wary animal circling something he instinctively sensed was wrong. "I've obviously missed something," he said. "How do you expect anyone to believe these canisters contain particles of matter your father actually created? They could be particles from anywhere at all."

"Actually," Vittoria said, sounding confident, "they couldn't. These particles are unique. They are a type of matter that does not exist anywhere on earth... hence they had to be created."

Kohler's expression darkened. "Vittoria, what do you mean a certain type of matter? There is only one type of matter, and it - " Kohler stopped short.

Vittoria's expression was triumphant. "You've lectured on it yourself, director. The universe contains two kinds of matter. Scientific fact." Vittoria turned to Langdon. "Mr. Langdon, what does the Bible say about the Creation? What did God create?"

Langdon felt awkward, not sure what this had to do with anything. "Um, God created... light and dark, heaven and hell - "

"Exactly," Vittoria said. "He created everything in opposites. Symmetry. Perfect balance." She turned back to Kohler. "Director, science claims the same thing as religion, that the Big Bang created everything in the universe with an opposite."

"Including matter itself," Kohler whispered, as if to himself.

Vittoria nodded. "And when my father ran his experiment, sure enough, two kinds of matter appeared."

Langdon wondered what this meant. Leonardo Vetra created matter's opposite?

Kohler looked angry. "The substance you're referring to only exists elsewhere in the universe. Certainly not on earth. And possibly not even in our galaxy!"

"Exactly," Vittoria replied, "which is proof that the particles in these canisters had to be created."

Kohler's face hardened. "Vittoria, surely you can't be saying those canisters contain actual specimens?"

"I am." She gazed proudly at the canisters. "Director, you are looking at the world's first specimens of antimatter."


Phase two, the Hassassin thought, striding into the darkened tunnel.

The torch in his hand was overkill. He knew that. But it was for effect. Effect was everything. Fear, he had learned, was his ally. Fear cripples faster than any implement of war.

There was no mirror in the passage to admire his disguise, but he could sense from the shadow of his billowing robe that he was perfect. Blending in was part of the plan... part of the depravity of the plot. In his wildest dreams he had never imagined playing this part.

Two weeks ago, he would have considered the task awaiting him at the far end of this tunnel impossible. A suicide mission. Walking naked into a lion's lair. But Janus had changed the definition of impossible.

The secrets Janus had shared with the Hassassin in the last two weeks had been numerous... this very tunnel being one of them. Ancient, and yet still perfectly passable.

As he drew closer to his enemy, the Hassassin wondered if what awaited him inside would be as easy as Janus had promised. Janus had assured him someone on the inside would make the necessary arrangements. Someone on the inside. Incredible. The more he considered it, the more he realized it was child's play.

Wahad... tintain... thalatha... arbaa, he said to himself in Arabic as he neared the end. One... two... three... four...


"I sense you've heard of antimatter, Mr. Langdon?" Vittoria was studying him, her dark skin in stark contrast to the white lab.

Langdon looked up. He felt suddenly dumb. "Yes. Well... sort of."

A faint smile crossed her lips. "You watch Star Trek."

Langdon flushed. "Well, my students enjoy..." He frowned. "Isn't antimatter what fuels the U.S.S. Enterprise?"

She nodded. "Good science fiction has its roots in good science."

"So antimatter is real?"

"A fact of nature. Everything has an opposite. Protons have electrons. Up-quarks have down-quarks. There is a cosmic symmetry at the subatomic level. Antimatter is yin to matter's yang. It balances the physical equation."

Langdon thought of Galileo's belief of duality.

"Scientists have known since 1918," Vittoria said, "that two kinds of matter were created in the Big Bang. One matter is the kind we see here on earth, making up rocks, trees, people. The other is its inverse - identical to matter in all respects except that the charges of its particles are reversed."

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