Thursday, October 16, 2008


I have been thinking about magnetism a lot recently. It makes no sense. It is called one of the "Fundamental Forces" which usually is the kind of term scientists use for stuff that nobody really understands.

I set up an experiment in the lab this week. Two magnets opposing each other, holding some weight up in the air. Levitation, if you will. Teeny little magnets holding some metal up in the air. I'm curious as to how long those little magnets can hold something up in the air. Months? Years? Indefinitely? It's a silly experiment, but it would seem that if "force" is being exerted by the magnets, eventually they would tire out and no longer be able to hold weight up in the air.

If they don't get tired, how come we can't just draw a relatively infinite supply of energy out of them? If they're not exerting an almost-infinite amount of force, then how is the weight being held up in the air?

I'm no physicist, but my Dad was, so maybe I'm allowed to think about stuff like this. I also fancy myself as someone who thinks outside the box, and the fact that I don't have Maxwell's Equations memorized is perhaps an advantage when considering something so perplexing as magnetism.

As my hero Diet Smith once said, "He who controls magnetism will control the universe."

1 comment:

Chaim Rubin said...

The magnets are not exerting force over distance in this case, so that they are not expending energy. I know you will say that the distance exists in the distance the weight would have fallen (and accellerated) if there were no magnets, and I have no answer for that.

Are the magnets the same or opposing in polarity? Does it matter?