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Electromagnetism

People don’t normally realise that electricity and magnets are actually the same fundamental force. 

 

The force

 

In the universe, there are four fundamental forces: gravity - the pull that bodies with mass exert on each other, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, involved in the nucleus of atoms, and the electromagnetic force.

 

The electromagnetic force was discovered in the 1800s. The main scientists whose work clarified the nature of the force were the English physicists Michael Faraday and the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. James Clerk Maxwell in 1865 came up with a paper called A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field.

 

When a current of electricity runs through a wire, magnetic material such as black sand in the vicinity of the wire will experience a force that pushes or pulls it to form the shape of a magnetic field around the wire.

 

When a conductor enters or exits a magnetic field, a current runs through it.

 

~ Geology

 

On an Earth scale, the Earth contains a molten outer core made of elements like nickel and iron. They flow around in convection currents. This creates a magnetic field. It’s effectively a magnet, like a fridge magnet.

 

The south magnetic pole is the North geographic pole and the north magnetic pole is the South geographic pole.

 

In the Sun, hydrogen fusion reactions are occurring, releasing enormous amounts of energy in the form of heat and light. Ionised or electrically charged particles are released as well, streaming away from the Sun in the form of the “solar wind.” When those ionised or electrically charged particles reach the Earth, they are affected by the strong magnetic field around the South and North Pole, and their change in energy manifests as the light displays known as the auroras or the Southern and Northern Lights.

 

~ Energy systems

 

Electromagnetism is the basis for our energy systems. Hydro power, wind power - turbines drive generators. Generators are moving magnets that create electric current. Motors operate on the same principle. It is used the other way in reverse. Electric current will move a magnet. That kinetic energy drives things like car wheels.

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