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"Overwhelming" Evidence For Magnetic Monopoles 256

Posted by kdawson
from the go-north-young-man-and-keep-on-going dept.
Thorfinn.au sends along big physics news: magnetic monopoles have been detected at low temperatures in "Dirac strings" within a single crystal of Dysprosium Titanate. Two papers are being published today in the journal Science and two more on arXiv.org, as yet unpublished, provide further evidence. "Theoretical work had shown that monopoles probably exist, and they have been measured indirectly. But the Science papers are the first direct experiments to record the monopole's effects on the spin-ice material. The papers use neutrons to detect atoms in the crystal aligned into long daisy chains. These daisy chains tie each north and south monopole together. Known as 'Dirac strings,' the chains, as well as the existence of monopoles, were predicted in the 1930s by the British theoretical physicist Paul Dirac. Heat measurements in one paper also support the monopole argument. The two, as yet unpublished, papers on arXiv add to the evidence. The first provides additional observations, and the second uses a new technique to determine the magnetic charge of each monopole to be 4.6x10-13 joules per tesla metre. All together, the evidence for magnetic monopoles 'is now overwhelming,' says Steve Bramwell, a materials scientist at University College London and author on one of the Science papers and one of the arXiv papers."
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"Overwhelming" Evidence For Magnetic Monopoles

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  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday September 04, 2009 @09:56AM (#29310493)

    It's only against the law to use your monopole to extort the market.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday September 04, 2009 @09:59AM (#29310515)
    Uncle Pennybags purchases Acme's Magnet making division to create magnetic monopoly.
  • monopoles (Score:1, Funny)

    by jswigart (1004637) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:01AM (#29310539)

    Clearly we knew monopoles exist already since Microsoft is guilty of being one right?

  • by noidentity (188756) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:07AM (#29310625)

    They come in "pairs" huh. Sounds like the N S of a regular old fashioned magnet to me. If they could be separated ever then they really would be monopoles but otherwise how can you be sure its not just a regular magnet thats too small a scale to detect the flux coming from every angle around it?

    Damn! Anonymous Coward has thought of something none of the scientists have even considered. Give this guy a research position ASAP.

  • by psy0rz (666238) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:11AM (#29310679) Homepage
    is it possible to create pepetium mobiles now? ;) most of the the 'free energy' designs are based around non-existing monopoles, and tricks to 'emulate' monopoles.
  • Woo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:12AM (#29310697) Homepage

    Isn't this just in time for the new season of the show Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon is on an expedition to find magnetic monopoles? :)

  • Bullshit. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:14AM (#29310729)
    All my coins are shaped like mobius strips.
  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:17AM (#29310765)
    That tells me nothing. How many beard seconds [wikipedia.org] is that?
  • by turing_m (1030530) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:22AM (#29310825)

    Exactly - I thought the whole joy of wielding a massive monopole was to embrace... and extend.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:22AM (#29310837)

    Data: "Magnetic monopoles have been detected at low temperatures in "Dirac strings" within a single crystal of Dysprosium Titanate"

    Geordi: "If we generate a phase-inverted lepton pulse from the main deflector, we might be able to force a quantum pulse cascade which will counteract their effect!!!"

  • Re:WTF.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Hal_Porter (817932) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:26AM (#29310879)

    Magnetic charges fired in a customised photon torpedo were used in Voyager S96E10 to defeat the dudes with forehead that looked like vulva.

  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:35AM (#29310991)

    I'm sorry, but you're going to have to provide your credentials if you want me to accept that you know more about magnetism than four separate physics research teams, two with articles in Science and two more with draft articles on arXiv.org, all of which show evidence of the existence of magnetic monopoles.

  • Monopoles (Score:2, Funny)

    by Airdorn (1094879) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:36AM (#29310997)
    ...therefore, God exists.
  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gmail . c om> on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:39AM (#29311023)

    "What if the link won't like me?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04, 2009 @11:00AM (#29311271)

    Magnetic lines seem to come from electrons as they move through the aether, the faster they move the more aggressive the magnetic flux gets and since electrons always orbit an atoms nucleus the lines go up through the middle and around the donut shape of its orbit. If an electron breaks its orbit there really isn't a distinct north or south, just the direction the lines are rotating around the electron (right or left - and whether they are actually physically moving is something we may never actually know but lines going in one direction wont combine with lines in the other direction). That being said I don't think the magnetism actually exists as something within the structure of the electron but only within the space around it like a pebble making a wave in a pool - the pebble doesn't "posses" the wave it creates even if the wave wouldn't exist without it.

    I guess I'm trying to say the electrons don't actually have a magnetic pole as you assert.

    Also how can you throw a pebble into the middle of a pond and get the waves to move in one direction from the pebble but not the other? I think envisioning the creation of a monopole is something like that and I'm still not convinced the people considering it are looking at it the right way.

  • Re:WTF.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday September 04, 2009 @11:02AM (#29311287) Homepage
    I'm glad you provided the episode number, because the description didn't narrow it down much.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday September 04, 2009 @11:05AM (#29311321) Homepage
    You know who else didn't believe in magnetic monopoles? Hitler, that's who.
  • All together, the evidence for magnetic monopoles "is now overwhelming", says Steve Bramwell, a materials scientist at University College London and author on one of the Science papers and one of the arXiv papers. ...

    Even without directly seeing one, Bramwell says that he is certain that the monopoles are there. "I don't think anybody could question it after this flurry of papers," he says.

    This mentality is a good example of what Joel Spolsky calls fire and motion [joelonsoftware.com]. You just keep moving, keep publishing, keep innovating, and your opponent is so busy trying to catch up or deal with your earlier work that you gain huge momentum. Sometimes unstoppable momentum. People just can't deal with the information overload.

    When the crystals are chilled to near absolute zero, they seem to fill with tiny single points of north and south. The points are less than a nanometre apart, and cannot be measured directly. Nevertheless, Morris and other physicists believe they are there.

    For 30 years, physicists have believed that the universe is made up of tiny vibrating dimensional strings which only they are clever enough to understand. A fine idea, except it turns out not even they are clever enough after all. Nevertheless, they persist in this belief because the mathematics is beautiful. Likewise, many physicists persist in their belief in magnetic monopoles because the concept is beautiful, or some other such rubbish. Look! It even makes Maxwell's equations symmetric. So what? What's so important about having symmetric equations. Unsymmetrical ones are so much more interesting!

    There's only one arbiter in physics, and science in general. It isn't a "flurry of papers". It isn't "beauty" or "symmetry" or "elegance" or "coolness". It isn't how many people agree with your viewpoint. It isn't how many journalists you can get to print words like "overwhealming evidence" in headlines. It isn't how much "supporting (online) material" you can find to back you.

    The one, only, and final arbiter is the experiment. An honest to gods experiment. It finds things. It separates truth from fiction. You can try to twist the meaning of the result this way and that, throw back the grenade and carry on with your fire and motion, but in the end the results of all those experiments will finally weigh down your dishonesty and halt your advance.

    There are no magnetic monopoles. You can try to separate north and south pole. You can even construct models of "magnetic charge" and dipoles if you like. But in the end, you can't get a north pole without having a corresponding south pole, very, very close by.

    Modern science, and worst of all physics, is in a deplorable state. Cargo cult scientists [lhup.edu],frauds [wikipedia.org], charlatans [timesonline.co.uk], fakes [bbc.co.uk], and deluded true believers [mit.edu](Yes I'm serious about that last link) have saturated certainly the media circuit, but I fear many physics departments as well. Sensationalism and media attention are now as never before, deciding what the "consensus"* in science should be. It's disheartening to see the world lose its faith in the method of observation, hypothesis, experiment and above all skepticism that has served it so well for so many centuries.

    P.S.
    *Before the cranks jump in; No, I do not in fact, doubt the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 04, 2009 @11:17AM (#29311499)

    More than anything, we all know that quantum particles aren't like coins -- they are more like cars...

    In that it's fun to watch them crash into each-other?

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Friday September 04, 2009 @11:44AM (#29311859)

    Those "extend" pills don't work. Never mind how I know.

    Use condom.

  • by BorgCopyeditor (590345) on Friday September 04, 2009 @10:46PM (#29320255)

    How dare AC ask for further explanatino of the topic?

    I could be wrong, but I don't think the explanatory field is quantized.

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

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