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Making Magnetic Monopoles and Other Physics Exotica 104

PhysicsDavid writes "Physicists have been searching for magnetic monopoles pretty much since they knew about magnetism and definitely since Maxwell unified electricity and magnetism. Now some researchers have shown that using some weird mirror materials will allow them to create something indistinguishable from a monopole in a lab experiment. A paper about it was published today in the journal Science as an advance online publication (abstract; full article available only to AAAS members). The technique looks like it could be used to create analog systems of other kinds of exotic particles that haven't yet been observed, such as axions. The theorists who proposed this are working with experimenters to try to create these systems and study them in depth this year."
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Making Magnetic Monopoles and Other Physics Exotica

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  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:00PM (#26667959) Journal

    If it turns out that you can create something indistinguishable from a magnetic monopole, then we have to start some very serious research into the implications.

    This is "indistinguishable" from a monopole in the same way that an image in a mirror is "indistinguishable" from the real object. While extremely interesting there will be bound to be edge effects given the finite size of the mirror and there must physically be a second pole somewhere because the material cannot spontaneously acquire a net magnetic charge...unless there is some significant new physics occuring. Hence I would take "indistinguishable" with a very large grain of salt. It is an extremely interesting result though.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken