Magnetic monopole experiment at CERN could rewrite laws of physics

Mar 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- An experiment led by a University of Alberta researcher, at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, could dramatically change our concepts of basic physics, revolutionize our understanding of the Universe and could eventually lead to technologies in future generations that right now only exist in science fiction.

U of A physics professor James Pinfold is leading an international team of physicists who will use ultra high energy proton collisions. The protons will move at very near the speed of light, in search for a hypothetical particle, called the .

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An introduction to the MoEDAL detector.

The magnetic monopole is a theoretical particle of matter. "Several important theories of physics are built on the belief that monopoles exist and it would be a great scientific coup to prove that," said Pinfold.

If successful, Pinfold says, physics textbooks from university level right down to high school will have to be revised.

"Our conventional understanding of magnets tells us they have a north pole and a south pole," said Pinfold. "A magnetic monopole has only one pole and that will change our understanding and the potential of electromagnetism," the force that binds particles of matter together. "Electromagnet force is the reason that, when I sit down on a chair, I don't fall through it."

Pinfold says the discovery of electronic monopoles will open up a whole new future for materials and technology if scientists can produce large numbers of them. "Monopoles could make materials strong enough to withstand a nuclear explosion and could also enable magnetic levitation."

Conventional understanding of magnets is that they must have north and south poles. In 1930 it was shown that a sub atomic particle with just a single magnetic pole could exist. Several modern theories of physics are built on the theoretical existence of magnetic monopoles.

Last year, researchers in France and Germany reported the observation of certain states of spin ice, a kind of crystalline material with essentially the same atomic arrangements as water ice that would create monopole-like particles. But Pinfold warns, "these 'quasi-monopoles' should not be confused with the real thing being sought by the U of A led collaboration at CERN."

The U of A-led experiment is already underway at the LHC and Pinfold says he hopes to find evidence of magnetic monopoles early in 2011. "It's quite an honour to be conducting this experiment," said Pinfold. "We can't wait till we get our hands on the data from the LHC."

At CERN, on the Swiss, French border, Pinfold's team will use the LHC, a 27 kilometres in circumference, to search for magnetic monopoles in the shrapnel like debris produced by colliding protons. The will create unprecedented energy, 14 TeV. The tiny fireballs created in the impact will duplicate the energy produced just after the Big Bang, the event that created the universe.

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User comments : 33

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axemaster
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2010
I don't expect any magnetic monopoles to ever be found. The very concept seems unphysical. Magnetism, in a classical sense, comes from the distortions of space and time in relativity. In other words, it requires movement. And that movement, even in spin, always has a certain direction.

To have a magnetic monopole, you'd have to have something spinning, but the top half would have to spin the other way. While still maintaining the same angular momentum. See how this doesn't make any sense?
kraisar
2.7 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2010
Relativity merely says the two are different sides of the same coin (a pure electric field in one frame is a mix in another). QED shows electromagnetic fields are mediated by photons. It is certainly not a stretch to imagine something having a single magnetic 'charge' just like a single electric 'charge', indeed it was noticed way back in the 1930's. It is well known that Dirac showed that monopoles were consistent with Maxwell's equations provided electric charge is quantized (which it so happens that it is!).

That aside, just because they work theoretically doesn't mean we will see them. Most data limit them to being no lighter than 600 GeV and in theory they could go all the way up to the Planck mass...so who knows!
jgelt
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2010
"Monopoles could make materials strong enough to withstand a nuclear explosion and could also enable magnetic levitation."

Amazing what noumenal entities can do - especially for funding, I imagine. This man's dreams are excessively moist for the empirical results so far.
Jarek
not rated yet Mar 25, 2010
They are looking for separate monopole particles, but can we really exclude for example scenario in which electrons and protons already have very small opposite magnetic charges?

In such scenario uncharged matter would have no magnetic charge, while for charged one relatively much stronger electric charge would practically shadow magnetic one...
broglia
2 / 5 (4) Mar 25, 2010
IMO such monopoles were already observed many times - as a jet supression during RHIC and Tevatron collisions. During this tiny rotating black holes were formed - but with only one polar jet. We can observed such asymmetric black holes commonly in nature, because parity symmetry violation is rather common above certain mass/energy density.

http://www.physor...423.html
broglia
3 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
The situation, when one group of theorists is looking for one phenomena, and another group for another, although these phenomena are closely related is nothing unusual in contemporary physics.

The effects like Yukawa coupling, Higgs boson, magnetic monopoles, supersymmetry and parity violation are closely related each other - you cannot observe one effect without another ones. But the formal math gives no clear clue about it and theorists, who are working in different areas often doesn't collaborate mutually well from competitive reasons.

In general, mainstream physics isn't motivated in mutual reconciliation of theories, because it enables more theorists to ask for grants at the same moment. These reasons are subtle, but they lead into redundancy of research and increase of cost from long-term perspective.
Lordjavathe3rd
not rated yet Mar 25, 2010
I'm curious about the existence of the higgs boson. To me it seems irrational for someone to think it exists. It seems so irrational that I wonder if I just really don't understand what is being claimed and how such a conclusion was reached. Perhaps someone could elaborate for me or point me to a layman article that should suffice. Thanks in advance for anything.
Slotin
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2010
IMO Higgs boson was observed as a top quark pairs (173.1 GeV/c2) dilepton channel decay at Fermilab, where it's responsible for Yukawa coupling of quark pairs. It's probable, each particle will have it's own Higgs boson rest mass assigned.

http://hepwww.rl....vid.html

http://www-d0.fna...H04A.htm
Question
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2010
How can something like a magnetic monopole exist? It seems that all magnetic fields originate from a spinning charge. If that is the case how can you have just one end (or side) of a spinning object? It is like trying to find one end of a string or one side of a point. How about looking for a negative dimension?
chandram
not rated yet Mar 25, 2010
If the tens of TeV energy is expected to yield the monopoles, why not look for such objects in a cosmological experiment closer to the Big bang. Such objects may be present in very distant stellar objects formed about 12.5 billions or more years back!
kraisar
5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2010
I'm curious about the existence of the higgs boson. To me it seems irrational for someone to think it exists. It seems so irrational that I wonder if I just really don't understand what is being claimed and how such a conclusion was reached. Perhaps someone could elaborate for me or point me to a layman article that should suffice. Thanks in advance for anything.


http://en.wikiped...echanism Has a pretty good introductory level explanation. To understand it more you will have to learn the math behind the Standard Model.

As for why magnetic monopoles could exist one has to stop thinking in terms of everyday objects like bar magnets or electromagnets. A magnetic monopole is just a bare charge of something we call magnetism, just like an electric monopole is just a bare charge of something we call electric.
gort
not rated yet Mar 26, 2010
spinon's and holon's?
http://io9.com/53...d-holons

i thought magnetic field is due to movement of a charge such as the charge carrier, the electron.

if you could run beside a electron there would be no magnetic field, however if the electron went past you it would have a magnetic field.
magnetisn being a pseudo field of charge motion
Cyberadvan321
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2010
A magnetic field is circular in nature, with a North arrow arbitrarily assigned as a direction around the circle. As such, north-south would seemd to be "paired" in an infinite number of dual-points around the circle. You cannot cut a magnet into smaller segments without each segment also containing a north end and a south end. Monopole ? Don't think so.
broglia
2 / 5 (4) Mar 26, 2010
It seems that all magnetic fields originate from a spinning charge. If that is the case how can you have just one end (or side) of a spinning object?
Many black holes observed appear asymmetric with respect to polar jets. This is related to breaking of symmetry of parity-charge, which was observed in the mid of 50's of the last century. Cooled 60Co atom nuclei are behaving like magnetic monopoles and they're emanating electrons in only one direction.

This symmetry breaking can be understood by model of quantum foam introduced by J.A.Wheeler into physics in 1962. This foam behaves like soap foam with very thin walls, which gets more dense under shaking in similar way, like soap foam. When the energy density is sufficient, the walls of foam aren't planparallel anymore, as the foam forms a spherical bubbles. The different curvature inside and outside of bubbles leads to symmetry breaking and formation of multiple event horizon near black holes in accordance to Kerr geometry.
broglia
2 / 5 (4) Mar 26, 2010
IMO this asymmetry is related to asymmetry of energy spreading with respect to observer of finite size in every foam. During heavy rain the small dense droplets are behaving like surfaces of foam with both positive, both negative curvature and a pair of rainbows can be observed with dark zone between it (Alexander's dark band). Primary rainbow is always smaller and more intensive, then the secondary rainbow. The similar asymmetry may be related to CP asymmetry - it's a geometrical effect of the observation of infinitely large foamy universe by its smaller parts, i.e. by us. At the distant space-time perspective such asymmetry becomes more and more pronounced. If we imagine, we are living inside of small black hole with only one polar jet, we can observe it as an CMB cold spot or like Doppler anisotropy of CMB, i.e. this symmetry violation can be observed both from outside of elementary particles, but from inside of our Universe, too..
broglia
3 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2010
how can you have just one end (or side) of a spinning object?
At the case of fast rotating black holes such asymmetry can lead to formation of only one polar jet. We can imagine such black hole as a rotating torus, which emanates light in one direction only. The speed of light is not sufficient to folow polar rotation of torus, which leads to formation of event horizon at the one end and the formation of monopole.

IMO this asymmetry could lead to asymmetry of shape of rotating stars and planets, too. Most of planets aren't exactly spherical, they appear like pears with different curvature at both poles. Columbus already believed, the travel to China will be shorter along north hemisphere. The surface curvature is significant for so called gravitational brightening - the more curved surface is, the hotter is and the easier it emanates light. And the polar jets of black holes can be considered as an exaggerated case of gravitational brightening.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 26, 2010
I'm not so keen on Magnetic monopoles having interaction with physical matter. Magnetic monopoles would strike me as something that would be perodically attractive but never measurably interactive, ie: dark matter.

All in all, it should be interesting to see what shakes out.
El_Nose
not rated yet Mar 26, 2010
I wonder if this will lead to frictionless surfaces ... the effeciency increase of frictionless surfaces would be amazing.
seneca
1 / 5 (3) Mar 27, 2010
It's evident, brilliant math helped physicists to predict existence of CP-symmetry violation, jet suppression of black holes, and magnetic monopoles. But no math can help these people in understanding, all these phenomena are equivalent in fact.

We can compare theorists to bugs climbing on the surface of fractal tree of human knowledge up to level, at which they cannot recognize, they're climbing to the same branch from different sides. This situation is quite common in contemporary physics and in certain cases the physicists are even trying to compensate/filter out effects, which they're supposed to find.

For example, string theorists are searching for extra-dimensions by looking for violation of gravity, while compensating electrostatic effects and Casimir force. Or some other physicists are looking for gravitational waves, while trying to filter-out CMB noise.

These examples are just demonstrating the need of understanding of contemporary physics at nonformal, intuitive level.
Xian
not rated yet Mar 27, 2010
Magnetic monopoles imply the existence of materials that can withstand a nuclear blast? That just seems like a tall-tale. Does anyone know a paper or an article I can read that would explain or demonstrate this?
superhuman
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
How can something like a magnetic monopole exist? It seems that all magnetic fields originate from a spinning charge. If that is the case how can you have just one end (or side) of a spinning object? It is like trying to find one end of a string or one side of a point.

Exactly. The search for magnetic monopoles is literally like a search for a stick with just one end - completely hopeless. The fundamental origins of magnetism guarantee that there are no monopoles.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
Exactly. The search for magnetic monopoles is literally like a search for a stick with just one end - completely hopeless. The fundamental origins of magnetism guarantee that there are no monopoles.

They're forbidden based on Maxwell's principles. I'd tend to agree with him. By the Guass equation, B cannot equal zero.
Jarek
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
It seems that all magnetic fields originate from a spinning charge

Really?
So what about neutrinos?
They are the lightest particles and so probably the simplest - there is no place for a charge in them.
So maybe what is fundamental is just the spin which corresponds to internal magnetic structure of the particle ... or from quantummechanical point of view: that the phase makes something like that:
http://demonstrat...arities/
And here are naturally extended Maxwell's laws which allow for monopoloes:
http://en.wikiped...monopole
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
It seems that all magnetic fields originate from a spinning charge

Really?
So what about neutrinos?
They are the lightest particles and so probably the simplest - there is no place for a charge in them.
So maybe what is fundamental is just the spin which corresponds to internal magnetic structure of the particle ...

Stop right there. The neutrino has no internal structure. Even if it did we couldn't examine it as it only interacts by exchange of heavy gague bosons.
Jarek
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
So what are particles?
Abstract beings living outside the field, but somehow interacting with it?
Or maybe simpler - just a part of the field - some its special local solutions?
Like solitons already used to model mesons, baryons...
http://adsabs.har...73..173S
Anyway, even in perturbative QFT, they have some momentum structure - so after Fourier transform we should have some its spatial structure, don't we?
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
Anyway, even in perturbative QFT, they have some momentum structure - so after Fourier transform we should have some its spatial structure, don't we?

Inertia doesn't require mass, contrary to what you've been taught in highschool.
Slotin
3 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2010
By the Guass equation, B cannot equal zero

This occurs commonly in nature: transversal waves are dispersed into many longitudinal ones. Inside of black hole space-time is sufficiently compactified/large for such dispersion. After all, even common sunspots at the surface of sun are effectivelly a monopoles, too. Their second pole is connected beneath the surface, but it cannot be seen so easily.
baudrunner
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
Particles by nature can't be monopoles, the laws of physics would be violated. Quantum chromodynamic rules stipulate limited permutations/combinations of quark color change as well. By that reckoning, you can't take arbitrary assemblages of quarks and created monopolar structures, ergo - no monopole.

However, a photon, even though it is a force carrier particle, can be considered to be a monopole, because it exists in time, meaning that for wave propogation to occur, you must have a bipolar cycle around a zero reference point, and if the two halves of the cycle were to supermipose, as in two waves generated 180 degrees out of phase, they would cancel, so at any given time, a single photon is monopolar, generating the dynamics of energy, and mass is energy, ergo - monopole.
Temple
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
Particles by nature can't be monopoles, the laws of physics would be violated.


That is not a rational argument. By that argument most of what physics understands can't exist, because at one point the laws of physics didn't allow for them.

If I had a dollar for every time that something was declared impossible, only to have the laws of physics to be amended and expanded...
MikPetter
not rated yet Mar 28, 2010
"...These results constitute the first direct experimental evidence of a topological insulator in nature which is fully quantum entangled. The observed spin-texture in BiSb is consistent with a magnetic monopole image field beneath the surface as predicted in theory..."

D. Hsieh, Y. Xia, L. Wray, D. Qian, A. Pal, J. H. Dil, J. Osterwalder, F. Meier, G. Bihlmayer, C. L. Kane, Y. S. Hor, R. J. Cava and M. Z. Hasan, "Observation of Unconventional Quantum Spin Textures in Topological Insulators", Science 323, 919 (2009). [Primary P.I.: M. Zahid Hasan (Princeton University)]
baudrunner
not rated yet Mar 29, 2010
"That is not a rational argument. By that argument most of what physics understands can't exist, because at one point the laws of physics didn't allow for them."
What a ridiculous thing to say.

A better comment could have been made by referencing the headline: "Magnetic monopole experiment at CERN could rewrite laws of physics".

"The observed spin-texture in BiSb is consistent with a magnetic monopole image field beneath the surface as predicted in theory..."
This is in keeping with the theory of the photon background, which is the fundamental layer of reality out of which force particles mediate hadron interactions. As I've stated, the photon is the only viable monopolar manifestation currently observable.
seneca
1 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2010
In certain sense the Cern community already demonstrated monopole formation in its biased stance toward LHC safety. Every high concentration of money from taxes and mandatory fees promotes formation of group of people, the interests of whose becomes separated from the need of the rest of society, like at the case of boson condensate formation inside of real black holes.

In this way, the biased stance of Cern regarding LHC safety can serve as an example of symmetry violation and the repeated issuing of only biased reports about LHC project can serve as an social analogy of jet suppression, i.e. the formation of information monopoly, uhm, monopole. If we give Cern even more money, we can expect dijet suppression and the Cern will not communicate at all - it would become completely cryptic organization - something like military research base.
ace61
1 / 5 (1) Mar 30, 2010
What if black holes are not a gravitational force that acts on all matter, but a collection of monopolar particles that together outweigh and attract the surrounding polarity all molecular, atomic, and sub atomic elements. Is not light just the ability to change the surface polarity of particles based on the reflection of the energy of the source. if an experiment was under way to produce an abundance of monopolar particles the community of knowledge that would be searching for this enlightenment would BUILD IN SAFEGUARDS(within nano seconds of the impact of the protons.... or within nanoseconds of the crossing the streams). This community of explorers will see the relevance of protecting the thought that had gone into this kind of expansion of mankind. If a "photo" or "etching" of the existance of sub-sub-atomic particles is the goal, then buildup of a steady stream, or collection of such monopolar particles would not be necessary. photons reflect polarity, flip their lid as it were

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