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Magnets are stones that produce magnetic fields. The magnetic field is invisible, but is responsible for the most noticeable aspect of a magnet: the attraction of a metal object or the repulsion of another magnet. Magnets are used in common everyday household items: credit cards, TVs, speakers, motors, and compasses. A magnets strength is measured by its magnetic moment. (“Magnetism”)

How did it all begin?

There are legends surrounding the discovery of magnets. One of the more common ones is that an elderly shepherd named Magnes, was herding his sheep in Magnesia, an area in Northern Greece around 4,000 years ago. While he was herding, the nail in his shoes became stuck on the ground where his sheep were grazing. The rock was supposable named either after him or the area where the stone was discovered. ("Canada Science and Technology Museum.")

Another story of magnetism dates back to first century B.C. written by the Greek poet, Lucretius. Many years after its discovery, magnets were thought to posses magical powers; it could cure the sick and ward off evil ghosts. Later, people realized that it attracted iron, and when cut into the shape of a needle or when held by a piece of string, magnets pointed in a north-south direction. It was then called a lodestone, or “leading stone,” because it lead them either north or south. ("Canada Science and Technology Museum.")

Who discovered magnets?

The first time we know about magnets was in 1269, when a soldier named Peter Peregrinus, wrote a letter about everything that was known at that time about a stone called magnetite. It is reported that he was writing this when he was guarding the walls of Lucera, a small town in Italy. It is also reported that, “While people insi...

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.... A drawback of a permanent magnet is once two permanent magnets are placed together it is difficult to separate them. ("Canada Science and Technology Museum.")

Works Cited

"Canada Science and Technology Museum." Background Information for Magnets. Canada Science and Technology Museum, Musée Des Sciences Et De La Technologie Du Canada, Ottawa, CSTM, MSTC. Web. 12 May 2010. .

"Electromagnet." Wikipedia. 13 May 2010. Web. 13 May 2010. .

"Magnetite." Wikipedia. 4 May 2010. Web. 12 May 2010. .

"Magnets." Wikipedia. 10 May 2010. Web. 12 May 2010. .

Rogers, Kirsteen. The Usborne Internet-linked Science Encyclopedia. Tulsa, OK: EDC Pub., 2001. Print.

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