1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Magnetic monopoles are beyond me

  1. May 13, 2014 #1
    How can you possibly have a magnetic monopole? The field lines must terminate somewhere, surely!

    I heard about them on a cosmology video on YouTube.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2014 #2

    Nugatory

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That's a good reason not to get your physics from videos on YouTube. :smile:

    But if you are going to indulge, at least give us the link so that we can tell you whether that particular video is any good. In this case, I'm skeptical because there are no magnetic monopoles.
     
  4. May 13, 2014 #3

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    field lines from a magnetic monopole may end on a magnetic monopole of opposite magnetic charge.
     
  5. May 13, 2014 #4
    It was sometime ago so I don't recall the exact video. I did attempt to watch the early Cosmology Lectures by Leonard Susskind so it was probably mentioned in one of those. Sorry, I can't be more specific.
     
  6. May 13, 2014 #5
    Not so fast. The standard model predicts the existence of magnetic monopoles. Look up "T hooft Polyakov monopole"
     
  7. May 13, 2014 #6

    Nugatory

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    OK, OK, if the video in question is discussing this hypothetical possibility I'm not so skeptical.

    However, I stand by the heuristic value of my comment about not getting one's physics from youtube videos :smile:
     
  8. May 13, 2014 #7
    Magnetic field lines don't terminate. They go in loops.
    Magnetic monopoles are possible in the sense that they aren't ruled out by our known laws, but we haven't found them so they probably don't exist.
     
  9. May 13, 2014 #8

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    No, magnetic field lines can start and end on magnetic monopoles as ## \nabla \cdot B=\rho_\mathrm{m}##, where ##\rho_\mathrm{m}## is the magnetic monopole density. Only if the latter is zero, the magnetic field is divergence free.
     
  10. May 13, 2014 #9
    "We haven't found them so they probably don't exist" isn't very rigorous logic. In fact, based on theoretical arguments, they probably do exist but are very rare and too massive to be produced in colliders.
     
  11. May 19, 2014 #10
    Still Puzzled!

    1. Wouldn't this mean that there are as many north monopoles as there are south monopoles? In other words they come in pairs?

    2. Suppose then there were just two monopoles in the (multi)universe, wouldn't this mean that the field would look identical to that of a (gigantic) bar magnet?
     
  12. May 19, 2014 #11

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yes, up to the flux inside the magnetic bar.
     
  13. May 20, 2014 #12
    1. So, if the universe is closed, there would seem to be no point in talking about monopoles. We could just talk about gigantic magnets?

    2. And if the Universe is not closed, presumably one pole could move so far away from us that a light signal couldn't reach us from it (because of the finite age of the universe) and so we'd be left with just a single pole?
     
  14. May 20, 2014 #13

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    1. No, there is still a difference between a usual, although gigantic, magnet and a monopole, namely that there is some coil or iron bar joining the two poles in a magnet while the monopoles are isolated objects.
    2. Even in a closed universe, there may be monopoles so far away that light from them hasn't reached us.
    The point is that with a closed universe and an unbalanced number of monopoles the field strength would become infinite as the field lines emanating from one uncompensated monopole could end nowhere and would therefore fill all space.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Magnetic monopoles are beyond me
  1. Magnetic monopoles (Replies: 15)

  2. Magnetic Monopole? (Replies: 11)

  3. Magnetic Monopole (Replies: 21)

  4. Magnetic monopoles (Replies: 1)

  5. Magnetic Monopoles (Replies: 10)

Loading...