Monopole magnets

Why can’t we create a Monopole magnet?? (or have we already?

There are only two things that are infinite…the Universe and Man’s stupidity…I’m not sure about the Universe though.

I’m not the physics guy here, but as I understand it there is no room for monopoles in the standard model. Magnetic force only seems to exist if it manifests in the two “directions” simultaneously.

I realize that Magnet manifest themselves in 2 directions but why can we not make a North monopole and at the same time make a South monopole. Or are monopoles another one of those scientific “Holy Grails”?

There are only two things that are infinite…the Universe and Man’s stupidity…I’m not sure about the Universe though.

Its only a matter of time until one of our physics geeks gets here, but until then…

I don’t think the North and South poles of a magnet can be decoupled. Magnetic force, so far as I can understand it, is analogous to an electric current. Just as an electric current needs a circuit to flow, with a “positive” and a “negative” terminal, magnetic force needs both a North and South pole to manifest. One might as well be looking for a current with only a negative terminal.

Easy one-step assembly instructions.
Pour Beer A in Uncle B.

A gedanken experiment: Take a planar magnet, north on one side of the sheet, south on the other (it’s not a perfect plane, there’s a little thickness). Now distort the sheet into a sphere with a hole in it. The inside is South, the outside is North, and the flux between them is all through the hole.
Now take a plug-shaped magnet, like a cork, North at the thick end, South at the narrow end. You can see what’s coming.

Plug the hole. What do you get?


  1. You can’t plug the hole, it would take infinite energy.
  2. As you move the plug toward the hole, the energy of doing so would randomize the molecules in the magnet, destroying the magnetism. So you just get a non-magnetic sphere.
  3. A magnetic monopole.

Presumably number 3 is wrong. Are there other possibilities? What’s the right answer?

Actually, the analogy with electric current is good but misleading because there is such a thing as an electric monopole, namely, the electric charge.

The short answer to the question is that we can’t create them because we can’t. We just haven’t found them yet. Some of the new high-powered grand unified theories predict the existence of magnetic monopoles, but they disagree as to how many and their other properties.

And as for your link, UncleBeer, I can only say WTF??


Thank you UncleBeer. That link made my head hurt and I still don’t understand what they are talking about.

I’ve been trying to find some sites on monopoles, but everything I have come across is either a minor blurb or as opaque as the link UncleBeer posted above.

Encarta has a definition at
I found an article by John Gardner discussing monopoles at: gives a pretty good overview of most physical particles but mentions monopoles in passing as something that comes out of Grand Unified Theory research.

John Gribbin explains why he doesn’t think there are any monopoles at:
And, of course, where would we be in a science discussion without the weird geocities link…

(Sometimes I hate search engines. You get something like this and just can’t help checking that next link…)

“Drink your coffee! Remember, there are people sleeping in China.”

Dennis Matheson —
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb —

Oops! The John Gribbin link above should be .

Gotta watch those copy/pastes better…

Would it be possible to create perhaps not a monopole magnet but one where one pole is significanly stonger thatn the other??

Perhaps one where the N -pole is very strong and the S pole’s strength is a small fraction of the others strength where it becomes almost negligible?

There are only two things that are infinite…the Universe and Man’s stupidity…I’m not sure about the Universe though.

In short, no; the problem is that the magnetic force arises from the alignment of the individual particles making up the magnet and each of them have equal north and south field strength.

Monopole magnets will be created only after we figure out Superstring Theory and perfect Silksteel alloys. :wink:

Well, I recall some of those Stanford people – I think it was back in the '60s – claimed that had detected (I foregt with what) and cornered a magnetic monopole in the basement of the Varian Physics building. But somehow it got away and they never found another one. I think they’re a pretty endangered species. Magnetic semipoles and sesquipoles are even shier.

Ray (Tried pole cats. They didn’t even catch a scent.)