How to pull the north pole off a magnet

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Monday 17 February

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: Faraday's iron filings experiments


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

Please note that this event was previously advertised as 'The physics of magnetic monopoles'.

In physics, why is it that things can have an electric charge, but not a magnetic charge? Can you get a magnet with only a north or south pole?

This talk explores the magnetic monopoles theoretically predicted to exist in ‘spin ices’.

Join Felix Flicker as he discusses how these magnetic monopoles could lead to fundamental advances in electronics with the possibility of magnetic currents that overcome physical limitations faced by electrical currents today.

About the speaker

Felix Flicker is a theoretical physicist working at Oxford University. He holds the Astor Junior Research Fellowship at New College. His interests lie in the application of geometry and topology to condensed matter systems.

He previously held a Lindemann Trust Fellowship of the English Speaking Union, which sent him to the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his PhD at the University of Bristol (2011-2015), under the supervision of Jasper van Wezel at the University of Amsterdam. He was on the Perimeter Institute's Perimeter Scholars International programme (2010-2011), where he was supervised by Michel Gingras at the University of Waterloo. He was an undergraduate at St. Catherine's College, Oxford (2005-2010).


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.


This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email:

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Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop. 

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