Fringe | Season 4 | Episode 19 | “Letters of Transit”
A dystopian future episode in fine sci-fi tradition this week, with pretty much no science to write about.
I’m sure we all know that matter-antimatter annihilations don’t happen as depicted, and I assume that Walter merely activated some sort of antimatter-powered disintegration device. For the sake of curiosity, though, how much antimatter would be required to demolish (not vapourise) a building? If we assume that a building can be brought down by the equivalent of 1 Mt (megaton of TNT), which is the yield of a typical conventional bomb, then we can work backwards to see how much antimatter would be required:
1 Mt TNT is about 4.184 x 1015 J. Using mass-energy equivalence for matter-antimatter explosions (E = m c2) gives a requirement of around 23 g of antimatter. Current Earth technology is capable of producing a few billionths of a gram annually, at a cost of a few hundred million dollars.