Fun Facts and Links


The first magnets used were natural stones called lodestones. The word "lode" means lead and so the stone was used to magnetize compass needles and lead sailors home.

The Earth has a magnetic field and north and south poles - operating as if it has a magnet in its center.


Magnetic pull is strongest at two points - the north and south poles.


Many scientists believe that birds are able to find their way home by using the Earth's magnetic field to guide them on long distance flights.

Some veterinarians use magnets to pick up pieces of wire or other metal from inside the stomachs of large farm animals.

Today, new trains use magnets to lift them off the ground so that they float. Floating reduces friction and allows the train to run more efficiently.


Magnets can be found in your telephone, stereo, vacuum cleaner, refrigerator, washing machine, car, TV, VCR, and your doorbell to name a few.


Ten Facts about Magnets
(from the book Driving Force)

1. North poles point north, south poles point south.

2. Like poles repel, unlike poles attract.

3. Magnetic forces attract only magnetic materials.

4. Magnetic forces act at a distance.

5. While magnetized, temporary magnets act like permanent magnets.

6. A coil of wire with an electric current flowing through it becomes a magnet.

7. Putting iron inside a current-carrying coil increases the strength of the electromagnet.

8. A changing magnetic field induces an electric current in a conductor.

9. A charged particle experiences no magnetic force when moving parallel to a magnetic field, but when it is moving perpendicular to the field it experiences a force perpendicular to both the field and the direction of motion.

10. A current-carrying wire in a perpendicular magnetic field experiences a force in a direction perpendicular to both the wire and the field.