Consider a universe in which leptons & quarks (every fundamental particle that possesses electric charge) all have twins with magnetic monopole charge instead, resulting in two parallel kinds of baryonic matter--electro-matter, and magno-matter. This has all kinds of weird and interesting implications; electro-particles and magno-particles occupy different quantum states, which means they are not subject to Pauli exclusion, and electrons and magnons do not statically repel each other, so bulk electro-matter can pass right through bulk magno-matter--but they both interact identically with photons, so a wall you can walk through doesn't look any different from one you can't! And just like "normal" electro-matter can form permanent magnets, magno-matter can form permanent electrets. (I may be wrong about this, but I suspect bound states of electro-nucleons and magno-nucleons would not be stable, so we don't have to worry about mixed-type atoms; there should be two cleanly separated parallel periodic tables.)

Or at least, so it seems at first glance. But, if we change as little as possible about our own laws of physics to introduce such mirror particles, does it actually turn out that nicely? If electric charge an magnetic charge are on the same footing fundamental-particle-wise, what else necessarily has to change to keep the laws of physics consistent?

  • $\begingroup$ Given that electromagnetism is one force I’m really not sure about the concept of magnetic charge... $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 31 '18 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_monopole $\endgroup$ – Logan R. Kearsley Aug 31 '18 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ My objection isn’t to the idea of a magnetic monopole, it’s the idea that ‘magno’ is in some way different to ‘electro’. The two are fundamentally interlinked. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 31 '18 at 11:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Dylan No, but isolated magnons would have an inherent dipole electric moment, and unpaired magnons in mag-atoms would have orbital electric moments, exactly symmetric to the magnetic moments of electric atoms. Thus,, they can align, with their static electric fields adding up to produce macro-scale electrets, in exactly the same way that we get static-field permanent magnets from electric matter. $\endgroup$ – Logan R. Kearsley Aug 31 '18 at 17:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very interesting question! I don't think I know enough to write a full answer. At least I can say this: the electric-magnetic duality is a form of S-duality, so since QED is a weakly coupled theory, quantum mechanics forces the magnetic analog to be strongly coupled; this means that under ordinary, unmodified physics magno-matter wouldn't look anything like electro-matter, we wouldn't have magno-atoms and molecules as we know them. See also here for some more possibly useful info on monopoles. $\endgroup$ – pregunton Aug 31 '18 at 20:01

Your universe hinges on a misunderstanding of electrons(one of the leptons you spoke of). Electrons are already magnetized. What you understand as magnetism is merely a byproduct of electrons who's poles are aligned forming a linear pattern.

  • $\begingroup$ This is the point I lacked the eloquence to articulate. Well, an example of it anyway. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 31 '18 at 14:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Electrons have a dipole magnetic moment. They do not have a monopole magnetic charge. Magnons would have an analogous dipole electric moment. $\endgroup$ – Logan R. Kearsley Aug 31 '18 at 17:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.