Whether MAGNETIC MONO-POLES exist....?!?!?! Since Dirac's paper, several systematic monopole searches have been performed. Experiments in 1975 and 1982 produced candidate events that were initially interpreted as monopoles, but are now regarded as inconclusive. Therefore, it remains an open question whether or not monopoles exist.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I agree. Yes, you can do some very interesting and different things with magnetic poles in a lab environment. However, realistically how often are you going to be in those situations? If it only can happen in a lab, why bother?  It’s just a curiosity.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There have been some anomalies that could be considered magnetic monopoles found in weird materials called "spin ice."

First off, when you normally think of magnetic monopoles, you think of a particle that carries a net magnetic orientation (like only South or only North), in the same way that an electron has a negative electrical charge. A particle like this has never been found in all the years people have tried.

The researchers tested and found a different concept of magnetic monopole that did show an overall single magnetic charge. A spin ice is a material that for physicists' purposes can't become a true solid. The "monopole" was the result of the particles in the spin ice exhibiting "split dipoles" a phase change under certain conditions. Keep in mind, all magnets until this observation were always full dipoles (with both North and South). The idea that a dipole may split brings about the possible discovery of a monopole.

Here's a paper from the prominent journal Nature that gives some specifics.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7174/full/nature06433.html

Don't worry, though. Unless you work with spin ice, it looks like Maxwell's equations still hold!

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial