Physics is a fascinating subject that explores the way our universe works. Among the many memorable topics you will learn in an O level physics tuition class is magnetism – specifically the laws of magnetism and electromagnetism. In physics, magnetism is just one aspect of the combined electromagnetic force. This phenomenon usually refers to the force exerted by magnets whenever they attract or repel each other.

We are all familiar with magnets, as they have various applications in our daily lives. Every magnet has two opposite ends – a north and a south pole. They attract when the opposite ends meet and repel each other when the reverse happens. These are some of the most common facts about this fascinating phenomenon that we understand.

However, these two facts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to magnetism. As discoveries continue to be made about magnetism and magnets, we have come to learn more and be fascinated by the exciting developments humanity has uncovered. Let us share some of the most exciting discoveries about magnetism and magnets that you may not be familiar with.

Fact #1: Magnetism is caused by rotating electric charges

We understand that magnets attract and repel, but how does the principle of magnetism actually work? Well, one of the most fundamental things you will learn about magnetism in your physics syllabus is that it is caused by the motion of electrical charges. The fields produced by the rotation of these electrical charges are responsible for generating the attractive and repulsive forces between objects.

Fact #2: Earth is considered a giant magnet

There is an invisible magnetic field that runs from the Earth’s north pole to its south pole. For many years, this intrinsic magnetic field remained a huge mystery that has baffled many scientists studying it.

However, thanks to the progress of technology, modern scientists are finally able to uncover the mechanism by which Earth’s magnetic field is generated. This field is continuously produced by a process called geodynamo that involves the motion of liquid iron in the Earth’s outer core.

Fact #3: The magnetic field of the Earth moves over time

Contrary to what some people might think, the Earth’s magnetic field is not a static phenomenon but rather a moving one. This field moves over time and is known to vary in strength.

The Earth’s intrinsic magnetic field has even flipped directions a couple of times in the past, leading to a switch in the north and south poles. Scientists have theorised that this inconsistency may be due to the rotation of the materials inside the Earth that form its magnetic field.

Fact #4: Some animals can detect the Earth’s magnetic field

We know that the Earth’s magnetic field exists all around us, but we cannot detect it without the proper equipment. However, specific animals, such as birds, sea turtles, sharks, fishes, and lobsters, can sense and utilise Earth’s magnetic field like a guidance system, similar to our GPS.

Fact #5: The most powerful magnet in the universe is a star

A magnetar is a neutron star that has died off and experienced a supernova explosion, and this particular star is considered the most powerful magnet in the entire universe. It contains the bizarre, super-dense remnants of the supernova blast and has a magnetic field that is a trillion times stronger than Earth’s. As an illustration of the magnetic field’s enormous strength, a magnetar is powerful enough to wipe every credit card on Earth from a distance halfway to the moon.

Conclusion

Isn’t it fascinating that there is so much more to magnets and magnetism than the attractive and repulsive forces we are familiar with? Indeed, magnetism is one of the most exciting and memorable topics you can discover when you study physics. You can even find out the application of magnetism in our daily lives.

If you want to learn more about the science behind magnets and magnetism, you can consider signing up for our tuition classes. At Best Physics TuitionTM Centre, we provide comprehensive tuition classes to help you better understand the physics syllabus. Learn how our universe works with like-minded folks in a fun classroom-like environment!