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A shimmering curtain of green lights in the sky above a snow covered landscape. Stars are visible in the dusky sky beyond the lights.
The magnificent spectacle of the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, glows in the northern sky above Bear Lake near Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Shaped by the Earth’s magnetic field, this light is produced by radiation spewed from solar storms. (credit: Senior Airman Joshua Strang, via Flickr)

One evening, an Alaskan sticks a note to his refrigerator with a small magnet. Through the kitchen window, the Aurora Borealis glows in the night sky. This grand spectacle is shaped by the same force that holds the note to the refrigerator.

People have been aware of magnets and magnetism for thousands of years. The earliest records date to well before the time of Christ, particularly in a region of Asia Minor called Magnesia (the name of this region is the source of words like magnetic ). Magnetic rocks found in Magnesia, which is now part of western Turkey, stimulated interest during ancient times. A practical application for magnets was found later, when they were employed as navigational compasses. The use of magnets in compasses resulted not only in improved long-distance sailing, but also in the names of “north” and “south” being given to the two types of magnetic poles.

Today magnetism plays many important roles in our lives. Physicists’ understanding of magnetism has enabled the development of technologies that affect our everyday lives. The iPod in your purse or backpack, for example, wouldn’t have been possible without the applications of magnetism and electricity on a small scale.

The discovery that weak changes in a magnetic field in a thin film of iron and chromium could bring about much larger changes in electrical resistance was one of the first large successes of nanotechnology. The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics went to Albert Fert from France and Peter Grunberg from Germany for this discovery of giant magnetoresistance and its applications to computer memory.

All electric motors, with uses as diverse as powering refrigerators, starting cars, and moving elevators, contain magnets. Generators, whether producing hydroelectric power or running bicycle lights, use magnetic fields. Recycling facilities employ magnets to separate iron from other refuse. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually on magnetic containment of fusion as a future energy source. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become an important diagnostic tool in the field of medicine, and the use of magnetism to explore brain activity is a subject of contemporary research and development. The list of applications also includes computer hard drives, tape recording, detection of inhaled asbestos, and levitation of high-speed trains. Magnetism is used to explain atomic energy levels, cosmic rays, and charged particles trapped in the Van Allen belts. Once again, we will find all these disparate phenomena are linked by a small number of underlying physical principles.

A group of five different iPods.
Engineering of technology like iPods would not be possible without a deep understanding magnetism. (credit: Jesse! S?, Flickr)

Questions & Answers

what is wave
Charity Reply
a wave is a distirbance that transmits energy from one place ro another within or without a medium
wave is the transfer of energy from one medium to another without the transfer of particles
wave is a disturbance which transfer energy from one medium to another without causing any permanent displacement by itself
wave is a disturbance or oscillation that travel through space and matter,accompanied by a transfer of energy
A wave is any disturbances in an elastic medium which carries energy from one point to another through a medium
what is harmonic motion
is a restoring force
what is thermodynamics
Williams Reply
what is thermodynamics
Are the antimatters of Hadrons also Hadrons?!Does the same rule apply to Leptons?
Daniel Reply
yes. Hadrons are the elementary particles that take part in stong, electromagnetic and weak interactions. Infact only Hadrons are involved in Strong interactions and when an anti-particle of any hadron is produced, it would be a hadron-conservations laws. Leptons are involved in weak int and follow
what is physics
physic is a pure science that deal with behavior of matter,energy & how it related to other physical properties
Owk. But am are Art student.
What happens when an aeroplanes window is opened at cruise altitude?
Theophilus Reply
what is the minimum speed for any object to travel in time?
Pankaj Reply
as per theory of relativity, minimum speed will be the speed of light
what is physics
Lote Reply
it is just a branch of science which deals with the reasons behind the daily activities taking place everyday in our lives. it clearly states the reason in the form of laws.
like Newton's laws , Kepler's laws etc....
physics is the study of motion or moving things. Usually the moving things are normal items like vars or planets but sometimes it's electricity or heat that moves.
what happens when an aeroplane takes off?
Kofi Reply
it flies
the lift generated by the wing overcome the weight of the plane(in Newton)and a net force of upward is created
it is a direct application of Magnus effect (which helps in throwing curve balls) the wings of plane are made in such a way that the net flow of air is more below them rather than on their upper side. So when the plane accelerates, the flaps produce the upward lift when enough velocity is obtained
then due to lower pressure on upper part of wings helps producing an additional lift because air flows from areaof lower to the area of higher pressure
The engines located under the wings generate thrust .. in relation thrust is a force ... which ovwrcomes or becomes greater than the weight of the plane.. remember weight is a force Weight = m x g-2 So therefore F(thrust) becomes greater than F(weight) Even if by 1Newton the plane starts lifting o
what happens when a ship moves
What is the sign of an acceleration that reduces the magnitude of a negative velocity? Of a positive velocity?
Conwil Reply
If it reduces the magnitude of the velocity, the acceleration sign is the opposite compared to the velocity.
what is accerelation
John Reply
an objects tendency to speed up over time
acceleration is the change in velocity over the change in time it would be written delta-v over delta-t.
the change in velocity V over a period of time T.
Delta means "change in"...not period of
just kidding. it all works mathematically
except doesn't time really only change if the instantaneous speeds vary...?
and I assume we are all talking average acceleration
Hey shiii 😀
the rate of change of velocity is callaed acceleration
a=delta v/delta t
the rate of change in velocity with respect to time is acceleration
nana you r right
what is meant by lost volt
Hardeyyemih Reply
Lost volt. Lol. It is the electrical energy lost due to the nature or the envirommental conditions (temperature and pressure) that affect the cable across which the potential difference is measured.
What is physics?
Bedabyas Reply
physics is brance science concerned with nature and properties of matter and energy
physics is study of the natural phenomenon on the basis of certain laws and principles. it's like watching a game of chess and trying to understand its rules how it's played.
physics is study of nature and it's law
physics is a branch of science that deals with the study of matter ,properties of matter and energy
Branch of science (study) of matter, motion and energy
what is a double-slit experiment?Explain.
Daniel Reply
when you pass a wave of any kind ie sound water light ect you get an interface pattern forming on a screen behind it, where the peaks and troughs add and cancel out due to the diffraction caused by a wave traveling through the slits
double slit experiment was done by YOUNG. And it's to give out monochromatic coherent, if an incoherent wave is passing through it. And then the waves form interference fringes. The screen placed in front of the double slit is preferably a film and then in the middle where "p=0" a brighter color
is formed and then the constructive interferences occur at 0 (which is the brightest band)... then a sequence of bright band (constructive interference) and dark band (destructive interference) happens and the further from the central band the lower the intensity of bright band(constructive interfe
what is photoelectric effect
Godwin Reply
the emission of electrons in some materials when light of suitable frequency falls on them
The phenomenon that involves the emission of electrons (photoelectrons) when light of appropriate wavelength and frequency is incident on the surface of a metal.
what is regelation
oladipupo Reply
is the process of melting under pressure and freezing when pressure is reduce
poisons ratio is which chapter
Regelation is the phenomenon of melting under pressure and freezing again when the pressure is reduced
how do i convert energy in MeV/c2 to GeV/c2 and vice versa?
Daniel Reply
And also from J/s to MeV?I don't quite understand what is in the book,particle physics just in case.

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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