# Are magnetic monopoles expected?

Decimator
Do physicists expect to find magnetic monopoles once a sufficiently obnoxious particle accelerator is built?

## Answers and Replies

Mentor
Some theories predict them, some do not. So "expected" is just guesswork, and depends on the physicist you ask.

mikeph
I think most people would be very surprised, but who knows.

Decimator
So the basic answer is: "No, unlike the Higgs boson, monopoles are not predicted with any degree of certainty." Correct?

mrspeedybob
Once you understand the relationship between the electrostatic force and the magnetic force magnetic monopoles make no sense.

I suppose if you built a magnet so large that the opposite pole was in a causally disconnected part of the universe you could consider your local end to be a monopole, but even then you could model any part of the magnet, or the whole thing, as a collection of many dipole magnets fastened together.

Mentor
So the basic answer is: "No, unlike the Higgs boson, monopoles are not predicted with any degree of certainty." Correct?
The Higgs boson was expected - and compared to that, monopoles are not expected.

mrspeedybob said:
Once you understand the relationship between the electrostatic force and the magnetic force magnetic monopoles make no sense.
I come to the opposite conclusion: Magnetic monopoles would give symmetric Maxwell equations.

$$\vec\nabla\cdot\vec E=4\pi\rho_e$$
$$\vec\nabla\cdot\vec B=4\pi\rho_m$$
$$\vec\nabla\times\vec E=-\frac{4\pi}{c}\vec j_m-\frac{1}{c}\frac{\partial\vec B}{\partial t}$$
$$\vec\nabla\times\vec B=\frac{4\pi}{c}\vec j_e+\frac{1}{c}\frac{\partial\vec E}{\partial t}$$
Static electric charges produce electric fields.
Moving electric charges produce magnetic fields (in addition).
Static magnetic charges produce magnetic fields.
Moving magnetic charges produce electric fields (in addition).

Science Advisor
Gold Member
So the basic answer is: "No, unlike the Higgs boson, monopoles are not predicted with any degree of certainty." Correct?

I wouldn't say it like that as there isn't any certainty here. I would say that existence of monopoles does not affect the current batch of testable theories that we have. Monopoles could exist, but right now there isn't a theory that we can test that would demonstrate that the existence of magnetic monopoles would affect the results of the experiment. For now, testable aspects of theories that have magnetic monopoles will predict the same physics that theories without magnetic monopoles.

Mentor
There are active searches for magnetic monopoles - so at least some theories predict detectable magnetic monopoles (or allow them within their parameter space). MoEDAL even got a part of its name from monopoles.

dipole
As far as I'm aware in the standard model there's no reason why they can't or shouldn't exit - it's just a strange property of nature that they don't seem to. And some theories predict their existence, which is why people have spent a lot of money searching for them. To me it seems a very strange mystery that we have no explanation of why they don't exist, if truly they do not.

Maxwell's equations certainly hint that they should exist, because like mfb posted then you have a beautiful and total symmetry between electric and magnetic fields.

(Note that Gauss's law for magnetic monopoles is empirical and not derived from any other assumptions or postulates.)