Magnetic Monopoles

26 Aug 2010

At the io9 website ( ) there is a feature, ask the scientist. In this instance, it is Physicist David Sparks who poses as teacher and knowledge bringer, and the question asked is, what happened to magnetic monopoles? Are they still out there in space?

 He replies by saying, take an electron and it can create an electric field. Throw the electron across the room and it generates a magnetic field. One point of special relativity that is sometimes missed, he says, is that you don't need to actually throw an electron to get a magnetic field. If I ran past your electron it looks the same to me as if I am standing still and your electron is moving and I see a magnetic field. All the phenomena normally observed as magnetic are actually caused by moving or spinning electrical charges. However, with a magnetic monopole you have a single particle that is essentially all North Pole - or all South Pole. Unlike a bar magnet which has both. However, you can still create an electric field

He then quotes the work of PAM Dirac in the 1930s, a mathematical physicist of standing. He predicted the existence of anti matter. However, he reveals that magnetic monopoles have never been seen, and mentions in passing the mirror universe, string theory, supere symmetry, and dark matter - and there are still no magnetic monopoles.