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An analogue of a long-sought-after particle comprising an isolated magnetic pole has been observed by physicists in the US and Finland. The "magnetic monopole" was predicted by Paul Dirac in 1931 but has never been seen in nature. This latest work does not prove whether or not the unusual particle exists, rather it shows that a physical system described by the underlying mathematics can be created in the lab. The research could also help physicists to gain a better understanding of exotic materials such as superconductors, and even create materials with new and useful properties.

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