• The reality that we are here – and there seems to be very little antimatter around – is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in physics. Even if matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts, he suggested that as they annihilated each other, they would have briefly created monopoles and antimonopoles – hypothetical particles with just one magnetic pole, north or south.
  • If that happened, Vachaspati showed that there should be a sign of it today: twisted magnetic fields permeating the universe – a fossil of the magnetic monopoles that briefly dominated. And he showed they should look like left-handed screws rather than right-handed screws.
  • So Vachaspati and his colleagues went looking for them in data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma ray Space Telescope. As gamma rays shoot through the cosmos, they should be bent by any magnetic field they pass through, so if there are helical magnetic fields permeating the universe, that should leave a visible mark on those gamma rays. Ultimately, that’s just what they found!

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