Do magnetic monopoles exist? (Think of a magnetic monopole as a tiny north pole without a matching south pole, or vice versa -- even though bisecting a bar magnet always produces two smaller bar magnets, each with a north and a south pole.) No magnetic monopole has ever been detected, but some post-Standard Model (hence, speculative) theories of particle physics allow for magnetic monopoles. Here's one more notion about how -- if magnetic monopoles are real -- we might detect them: "Can corkscrewing lasers solve an enduring particle physics mystery?"
|Part of ITER, under construction|
With the recent publication of a single peer-reviewed paper on the topic of the supposedly reactionless EM (electromagnetic) drive, a slew of pop-sci papers on the topic have also appeared. It's always possible -- and exciting! -- to discover that something we thought we understood isn't quite so. (As in, for example, Einstein's centuries-after extensions to, and recasting of, Newton's theory of gravity.) It's also wise to take surprising claims with a grain of salt. (Remember the brouhaha a few years back about FTL neutrinos? That assertion, ultimately was debunked on account of a loose cable in an experimental setup.) See "How Physics Falls Apart If The EM drive Works." A key quote:
The problem isn't that these laws [e.g., Newton's three laws of motion] couldn't be overturned by experiment; of course they could. The problem is that physicists have performed so many experiments in so many different ways, so carefully and with such precision verifying them. These conservation laws have been confirmed for every gravitational, mechanical, electromagnetic and quantum interaction ever observed. And now, it's claimed that an engine, one that relies on nothing more than a simple electromagnetic power source, overthrows all of physics. And the NASA Eagleworks test confirms, in a peer-reviewed paper, that thrust is produced with no discernible reaction for the action observed.
- "First signs of weird quantum property of empty space?" (The takeaway: According to QED, a highly magnetised vacuum behaves as a prism for the propagation of light, an effect known as vacuum birefringence [where QED, or quantum electrodynamics, marries QM and relativistic electromagnetic theories.])
- "Physicists make something from nothing with 'virtual' particles." The "something" being made is "squeezed light," which may find an application in improved gravitational-wave detectors.