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Researchers Discover "Magnetic Current" 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the positive-and-negative-waves dept.
fsouto writes "Researchers have discovered a magnetic equivalent to electricity. From the article, 'The phenomenon, dubbed "magnetricity," could be used in magnetic storage or in computing. Magnetic monopoles were first predicted to exist over a century ago, as a perfect analogue to electric charges. Although there are protons and electrons with net positive and negative electric charges, there were no particles in existence which carry magnetic charges. Rather, every magnet has a "north" and "south" pole.'"
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Researchers Discover "Magnetic Current"

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  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:26PM (#29752723)

    The only thing new here is the current, not the "magnetic charge" from the monopole. And it's theoretical physics ridiculously far from being used in magnetic storage or computing.

    • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:48PM (#29752883) Homepage

      That's because the summary is just copypasta of the first paragraph of TFA, which goes on to say that monopole "quasti-particles" had already been observed.

    • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:52AM (#29754023) Homepage

      The only thing new here is the current, not the "magnetic charge" from the monopole. And it's theoretical physics ridiculously far from being used in magnetic storage or computing.

      The monopole is at most a month old, so it's not like we're talking particularly old news. At worst it's an update on ongoing research.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      And it's theoretical physics ridiculously far from being used in magnetic storage or computing.

      Indeed, the new scientist article says: [newscientist.com]

      In September, two teams of physicists fired neutrons at spin ices made of titanium-containing compounds chilled close to absolute zero. The behaviour of the neutrons suggested that monopoles were present in the material.

      To get more detailed information on the monopoles than had previously been possible, Bramwell's team injected muons - short-lived cousins of electrons - into

  • Magnet current? Like, in a transformer?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tumbleweed (3706)

      Magnet current? Like, in a transformer?

      No, that's a 'spark'. Still, it might be disguised as a magnetic current.

      • No, that's a 'spark'. Still, it might be disguised as a magnetic current.

        GP may be thinking about magnetic circuits [wikipedia.org] which are used in electrical power system design. Magnetic flux is treated as current so you wind up with reluctance = [magneto-motive force]/[magnetic flux].

  • Article Abstract (Score:5, Informative)

    by Issildur03 (1173487) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:35PM (#29752791) Homepage

    Abstract from the actual paper [nature.com]:
    "Electrically charged particles, such as the electron, are ubiquitous. In contrast, no elementary particles with a net magnetic charge have ever been observed, despite intensive and prolonged searches (see ref. 1 for example). We pursue an alternative strategy, namely that of realizing them not as elementary but rather as emergent particles—that is, as manifestations of the correlations present in a strongly interacting many-body system. The most prominent examples of emergent quasiparticles are the ones with fractional electric charge e/3 in quantum Hall physics. Here we propose that magnetic monopoles emerge in a class of exotic magnets known collectively as spin ice: the dipole moment of the underlying electronic degrees of freedom fractionalises into monopoles. This would account for a mysterious phase transition observed experimentally in spin ice in a magnetic field, which is a liquid–gas transition of the magnetic monopoles. These monopoles can also be detected by other means, for example, in an experiment modelled after the Stanford magnetic monopole search."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @10:42PM (#29752835)

    If this is a discovery then why did I learn about this in my electromagnetics class I took a semester ago? And why did I have to work on problems with magnetic circuits if this phenomenom wasn't discovered yet?

    • by cjfs (1253208)

      If this is a discovery then why did I learn about this in my electromagnetics class I took a semester ago? And why did I have to work on problems with magnetic circuits if this phenomenom wasn't discovered yet?

      I think you know why [youtube.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rising Ape (1620461)

      I'm pretty sure you didn't learn about a current of magnetic monopoles in electromagnetics class.

      This is not the same as a normal current of electric monopoles (charges) producing a magnetic field.

    • by ReneeJade (1649107) <reneejadew@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:04PM (#29752989)
      Magnetic circuit analysis deals with magnetic fields and magnetic flux etc. Not magnetic current in the sense that there is a displacement of magnetic monopoles analogous with the displacement of electric monopoles (e.g. delocalised electrons in a metal) that is electricity. It's a different idea. Yes, a magnetic field and a conductive "circuit" in a magnetic field can be analysed using a loose analogy to electricity, but the actual physical phenomena are not the same thing, unless these guys are on to something.
      • by slew (2918) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:06AM (#29753817)

        Well, in the interest of closing the loop, these aren't totally disjoint ideas ;^)

        In the standard magnetic circuit with flux and field, the analogy between a magnetic circuit and an electrial circuit is

        MMF = PATHINTEGRAL (H dot dl) vs EMF = PATHINTEGRAL(E dot dl)

        Without any magnetic monopoles, this path integral that represents the magnetic circuit is merely analogous to a magnetic charge making a loop in the circuit creating a potential around the loop. Although this MMF is now taught as being generated by transformer/inductor coils wrapped around the magnetic circuit using the relationship MMF = N*i, but instead in a world with magnetic monopole current (i.e., magnetic current), in principle the same MMF relationships can be used.

        Interestingly with magnetic monopoles this can also be extended like "electrical" circuit element.

        R = dv/di, C = dq/dv, L = dF/di, M = dF/dq, i = dq/dt, and v = dF/dt

        Historicall, only Resistance ~ Reluctance was the only one of the analogs that made sense w/o magnetic monopoles.
        Now that we have magnetic monopoles, the other electrical circuit elements now have possible analogs in a magnetic circuit.

        So this is actually a similar idea that shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

  • Seriously? Magnetricity? That's the best name they could come up with? Really?

    I hope if they can't do better figuring out what term to measure in it, they at least pander to the attention it would gather and call the unit "Colbert"

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Yeah I agree it sucks.

      I think they should call it "Magnetocurrent", since whether he was aware of it or not Magneto has been creating magnetic currents since WWII. :)

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Elect-ricity is moving elect-ric charges. Magnet-ricity is moving magnet-ic charges. Seems about as logical as you can get, while making the word actually pronounceable.

  • by Mr. Roadkill (731328) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:05PM (#29752993)
    More buzzwords and concepts for Trek to abuse.


    ...that whizzing sound is my karma, flying out the window.
    • Whoa! (Score:5, Funny)

      by neiras (723124) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:30AM (#29753383)

      ...that whizzing sound is my karma, flying out the window.

      You've discovered the karmic equivalent to electricity!

      The phenomenon, dubbed "karmicity", could be used in meta-moderation or in troll suppression. There were previously no known particles in existence which carried karmic charges. A net-positive karmic particle is known as a karmon; a net-negative particle, a moron.

      LHC, eat my shorts.

      • I'm pretty sure burning karma is what powers slashdot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Thanshin (1188877)

        "...And so, the development of karmon storage marks the end of the Just Age; where consequences always hit the originator of the action. i.e.: The karmiker and the karmiked where always one and the same."

        "Mr. Johnson. What were khores paid for, then?"

        "As you may know, the term "khore" comes from "karma whore". At that time, they were called just "whores" and they were paid in exchange for sexual favours."

        "Like computers?"

        "Yes, Jimmy. Exactly like computers."

    • Mr Data! reverse the polarity on that magneton beam ...

  • by glwtta (532858) on Wednesday October 14, 2009 @11:50PM (#29753229) Homepage
    Do you have to have smision to be able to detect it?
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:39AM (#29753423) Homepage Journal

    ...we're 0.00317% closer to flying cars!
     

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @12:53AM (#29753479)

    So, what's the next breakthrough? According to the Alpha Centauri tech tree I'm reading, we can now research Unified Field Theory and Nanominiaturization now that we have Monopole Magnets!

    • According to the Alpha Centauri tech tree I'm reading, we can now research Unified Field Theory and Nanominiaturization now that we have Monopole Magnets!

      Only if you're playing as the aliens, or have tinkered with the settings before starting the game. Human factions can only specify the general field of research, not a specific topic. So we can't really say what we'll be getting next; depends whether we focus more on Conquer or on Build.

      What this does mean, however, is that we can begin construction of

  • by Pfhorrest (545131) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:39AM (#29753971) Homepage Journal
    The classic illustration of magnetic field lines is to put a big bar magnet on a table and sprinkle iron filings on and around it; they will end up tracing the magnetic field lines of the bar magnet.

    So say they could construct the monopole equivalent of such a bar magnet, just one big lump of North or South. If we put that on a table and sprinkled iron filings on and around it, what (if any) lines would they end up tracing? Just rays away from the monopole?
  • by f3r (1653221) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @03:47AM (#29754269)
    I post the paper itself (not the abstract whose text cannot be accessed, not a derivative article in a divulgative magazine) arXiv:0907.0956 [arxiv.org] I know nobody is interested, because after so many posts no one had the urge. But anyway..

    Why not link directly to arXiv in all scientific posts? Maybe a divulgative link AND a link to the paper in the arXiv. I am crazy?

    • by Skapare (16644)

      Fix your broken web server. One, it refuses certain browsers. That's just stupid. Two, it mangles the file extension info for the PDF. An oversight maybe, but wrong. Not your web site? Find another.

      • by iris-n (1276146)

        What are you talking about?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by roystgnr (4015)

          What are you talking about?

          Probably something like this, for the first complaint:


          roystgnr@mycroft:~$ wget http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.0956 [arxiv.org]
          --2009-10-15 08:39:22-- http://arxiv.org/abs/0907.0956 [arxiv.org]
          Resolving arxiv.org... 128.84.158.114
          Connecting to arxiv.org|128.84.158.114|:80... connected.
          HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 403 Forbidden
          2009-10-15 08:39:23 ERROR 403: Forbidden.

          roystgnr@mycroft:~$ wget --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; pl-PL; rv:1.9.0.2) Gecko/20121223 Ubuntu/9.25 (jaunty) Firefox

  • by master_p (608214) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @06:35AM (#29754957)

    What is a magnetic field composed of? The article says that a small magnetic field is formed around the muons. Is a magnetic field composed of particles?

    • A "field" in math is an object that assigns a value to every point in space. A "magnetic field" assigns a vector that has to do with the amount of force experienced on an electrically charged particle moving with a certain velocity at that point. So it's not really "composed of" anything, any more than the earth's gravitational field is composed of anything. It's just a property.

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