Magnetism: Physics is Magic(?)

Summary of Circuits Poles...


  • A material that is always magnetic is known as a permanent magnet.

  • Permanent magnets are common in technology, as well as the natural world.

F**kin' magnets. How do they work?

We've all played with magnets before — those bars, balls and horseshoes with a strange ability to push or pull each other, even if there's something between them. It's like magic! These two magnets are attracted to each other, even with a hand in-between

If magic existed, we'd try to understand it. But that would just make it physics!

Magnetism isn't any more mysterious than the gravitational force or the electric force. All 3 act between objects, even if they're far away or something is between them.

If a material always has magnetic properties, we call it a permanent magnet. Permanent magnets are surprisingly common in everyday life — not just in fridge magnets.

Here are some technologies that require permanent magnets to work:

Permanent magnets are found in the natural world too. All electrons act like a tiny magnets, and the Earth acts as one huge magnet. Electron and earth as bar magnets (Diagram not to scale)

Magnetism was first discovered in rocks containing a mineral called magnetite (which is where the word magnet comes from). These rocks are also called lodestones. It was found that lodestones slightly pushed or pulled on each other.

These pushes and pulls are due to the magnetic force. How does the magnetic force work? Find out on the next page...



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