A state of the art experiment led by a University of Alberta scientist is examining the very concepts of physics.

The team, led by James L. Pinfold, a U of A physics professor, is using the Large Hadron Collider to open up new ways to look at physics outside of the current scientific model.

The experiment, called the Monopole and Exotics Detector at the Large Hadron Collider, could possibly to lead to real applications to ideas thought only to be science fiction.

“You could make magnetic levitation devices,” said Pinfold. “Though the development will come over hundreds of years.”

One of the main goals is to discover magnetic mono­poles, which is a magnet particle with only one pole.

“The big mystery in physics is not if there (are) monopoles, but where are they,” said Pinfold.

The project costs sit at around $1 million, which is miniscule compared to the normal LHC experiment cost of $400 million.

“We’re a David amongst a bunch of goliaths,” said Pinfold. “The implications of the experiments are huge.

“If we discovered the magnetic monopole, it would be at least as important as the other experiments.”

Pinfold realized that it is not always easy translating the data of scientific study to a general level of public understanding of what they were doing.

“We’re voyaging to places that can’t be seen or even imagined,” said Pinfold.

“That’s why we need simulations and visualizations ... they’re the only way you can connect.”

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