Nothing New, but Still Fascinating
Explore the world of ferromagnets, electrical resistance, magnetic fluids, and high voltage.
Human beings have known about electrical phenomena since ancient times. They observed that amber attracts small particles like dust and lint when it is rubbed against other materials. The Greek word for amber, elektron, is the source of the word “electricity.” Magnetic phenomena were also known in antiquity. For example, it was understood that, even without being rubbed, certain stones attracted ferrous materials. Electricity and magnetism are closely related: electric currents cause magnetism. Countless technical devices and processes rely on the interrelationship between electricity and magnetism.
Life without electricity is barely imaginable! It would mean no electric lights, no electric washing machines, blank television screens – to say nothing of computers and the Internet. Yet electricity is not only ubiquitous in technology. It is also found constantly in nature, for example when lightning flashes in the sky.
Magnetic phenomena are also constantly found in nature. The Earth, for example, is one large magnet. Birds use its magnetic field to navigate when migrating. People also use magnetism to get their bearings: the needle of a compass is guided by the Earth’s magnetic field.