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In search of the magnetic monopole: Large Hadron Collider experiment could rewrite laws of physics

Date:
March 28, 2010
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
An experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN could dramatically change our concepts of basic physics, revolutionize our understanding of the universe and could eventually lead to technologies in future generations that right now only exist in science fiction. Physicists will use ultra high energy proton collisions in search for a hypothetical particle -- the magnetic monopole.

Visualization of the detector in the Large Hadron Collider's MoEDAL experiment, which will search for very specific exotic objects such as the highly ionizing magnetic monopoles and massive, conventionally charged, supersymmetric particles.
Credit: Courtesy of Jim Pinfold

An experiment led by a University of Alberta researcher, at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, could dramatically change our concepts of basic physics, revolutionize our understanding of the Universe and could eventually lead to technologies in future generations that right now only exist in science fiction.

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U of A physics professor James Pinfold is leading an international team of physicists who will use ultra high energy proton collisions. The protons will move at very near the speed of light, in search for a hypothetical particle, called the magnetic monopole.

Conventional understanding of magnets is that they must have north and south poles. In 1930 it was shown that a sub atomic particle with just a single magnetic pole could exist. Several modern theories of physics are built on the theoretical existence of magnetic monopoles.

Last year, researchers in France and Germany reported the observation of certain states of spin ice, a kind of crystalline material with essentially the same atomic arrangements as water ice that would create monopole-like particles. But Pinfold warns, "these 'quasi-monopoles' should not be confused with the real thing being sought by the U of A led collaboration at CERN."

At CERN, on the Swiss-French border, Pinfold's team will use the LHC, a particle accelerator 27 kilometres in circumference, to search for magnetic monopoles in the shrapnel like debris produced by colliding protons. The protons will collide at an unprecedented energy -- 7 trillion (1012) electron volts, or 7 tera electron volts (TeV) . The tiny fireballs created in the impact will duplicate the energy produced just after the Big Bang, the event that created the universe.

For more information, see Jim Pinfold's MoEDAL Experiment movie and CERN Experiment Collaboration Webpage: http://web.me.com/jamespinfold/MoEDAL_site/Welcome.html

An article explaining the MoEDAL Experiment is available on the CERN web site at: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/journal/CERNBulletin/2010/12/News%20Articles/1248906?ln=ru


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "In search of the magnetic monopole: Large Hadron Collider experiment could rewrite laws of physics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324142119.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2010, March 28). In search of the magnetic monopole: Large Hadron Collider experiment could rewrite laws of physics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324142119.htm
University of Alberta. "In search of the magnetic monopole: Large Hadron Collider experiment could rewrite laws of physics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324142119.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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