Thursday, 15 October 2009

Magnetricity & Magnetic Monopoles become reality

Paul Dirac's prediction of the existence of magnetricity and magnetic monopoles today became a reality with reports emerging of the first confirmed observation of magnetic electricity.

The Times note that:
"Scientists have generated a magnetic version of electricity, which they have called magnetricity. The discovery marks an important advance in theoretical physics. The existence of magnetic “charges” has been predicted for nearly 70 years but has never been observed in practice. The study was led by Professor Steve Bramwell, of the London Centre for Nanotechnology."

Bramwell said: "Magnetic monopoles were first predicted to exist in 1931, but despite many searches, they have never yet been observed as freely roaming elementary particles. These monopoles do at least exist within the spin ice sample, but not outside. It is not often in the field of physics you get the chance to ask 'How do you measure something?' and then go on to prove a theory unequivocally. This is a very important step to establish that magnetic charge can flow like electric charge. It is in the early stages, but who knows what the applications of magnetricity could be in 100 years time."

Source: &

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Dark matter detector? Or amber spyglass?

Science Daily reports that a team of researchers from the University of Zaragoza and IAS, in France has developed a device that can be used in efforts to detect the dark matter of the universe.  The device titled '"scintillating bolometer" uses a crystal so pure it can conduct the energy ostensibly generated when a particle of dark matter strikes the nucleus of one of its atoms.

It is currently being used at the Orsay University Centre in France, where the team is working to optimise the device's light gathering potential. Eduardo García Abancéns notes:

"One of the biggest challenges in physics today is to discover the true nature of dark matter, which cannot be directly observed – even though it seems to make up one-quarter of the matter of the Universe. So we have to attempt to detect it using prototypes such as the one we have developed"