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What’s the Attraction?

Rochel Burstyn

There’s far more to magnets than meets the refrigerator door! We use magnets all the time without even thinking about it, or being aware of it. Magnets are everywhere, in just about everything that has power and moving parts. That includes everyday items like hair dryers, doorbells, computers, washing machines, dishwashers, phones, microwaves, electric fans, earphones, speakers, cars … everything!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Step in Time

The most popular legend relates that thousands of years ago a shepherd called Magnes was herding his sheep in Magnesia (Northern Greece). Suddenly, the nails in his shoes got stuck to the large, black rock he was standing on. He dug up the rock and was the first person to discover the special properties of this amazing material, which was eventually called magnetite, either after Magnes or Magnesia.

Leading the Way

People quickly discovered that when they hung a piece of magnetite at the end of a thread, the rock always pointed north. Explorers used to take pieces of magnetite on their ships to help guide them. They had no idea why or how it worked, but these were the world’s first compasses and were often called lodestones or “leading stones.”

 

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