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Physicists create synthetic magnetic monopole predicted more than 80 years ago

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Posted January 30, 2014
Physicists create synthetic magnetic particle
Artistic illustration of the synthetic magnetic monopole. Credit: Heikka Valja.
Nearly 85 years after pioneering theoretical physicist Paul Dirac predicted the possibility of their existence, an international collaboration led by Amherst College Physics Professor David S. Hall ’91 and Aalto University (Finland) Academy Research Fellow Mikko Möttönen has created, identified and photographed synthetic magnetic monopoles in Hall’s laboratory on the Amherst campus. The groundbreaking accomplishment paves the way for the detection of the particles in nature, which would be a revolutionary development comparable to the discovery of the electron.

A paper about this work co-authored by Hall, Möttönen, Amherst postdoctoral research associate Michael Ray, Saugat Kandel ’12 and Finnish graduate student Emmi Ruokokski was published today in the journal Nature.

“The creation of a synthetic magnetic monopole should provide us with unprecedented insight into aspects of the natural magnetic monopole—if indeed it exists,” said Hall, explaining the implications of his work.

Ray, the paper’s lead author and first to sight the monopoles in the laboratory, agreed, noting: “This is an incredible discovery. To be able to confirm the work of one of the most famous physicists is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am proud and honored to have been part of this great collaborative effort.”

Read more at: Phys.org

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