Describe Franklin's kite experiment.

Give a short summary of the text.

LESSON SIX

MAGNETISM

In studying the electric current, we observe the following relation between magnetism and the electric current: on the one hand magnetism is produced by a current and on the other hand the current is produced from magnetism.

Magnetism is mentioned in the oldest writings of man. Romans, for example, knew that an object looking like a small dark stone had the property of attracting iron. How­ever, nobody knew who discovered magnetism or where and when the discovery was made. Of course, people could not help repeating the stories that they had heard from their fathers who, in their turn, heard them from their own fathers and so on.

One story tells us of a man called Magnus whose iron staff was pulled to a stone and held there. He had great dif­ficulty in pulling his staff away. Magnus carried the stone away with him in order to demonstrate its attracting ability among his friends. This unfamiliar substance was called Mag­nus, after its discoverer, this name having come down to us as "Magnet."

According to another story, a great mountain by the sea possessed so much magnetism that all passing ships were de­stroyed because all their iron parts fell out. They were pulled out because of the magnetic force of that mountain.

The earliest practical application of magnetism was con­nected with the use of a simple compass consisting of one small magnet pointing north and south.

A great step forward in the scientific study of magnetism was made by Gilbert, the well-known English physicist (1540-1603). He carried out various important experiments on electricity and magnetism and wrote a book where he put together all that was known about magnetism. He proved that the earth itself was a great magnet.

Reference must be made here to Galileo, the famous Italian astronomer, physicist and mathematician. He took great interest in Gilbert's achievements and also studied the prop­erties of magnetic materials. He experimented with them trying to increase their attracting power. One of his magnets, for example, could lift objects weighing 25 times its own weight.

At present, even a schoolboy is quite familiar with the fact that in magnetic materials, such as iron and steel, the molecules themselves are minute magnets, each of them hav­ing a north pole and a south pole. These molecules usually arrange themselves in a disorderly way, their north and south poles pointing in all directions and neutralizing one another.

The process of magnetization consists of turning these little magnets until all their north poles point in one direction and south poles in the other.

When iron and steel are magnetized, the molecules arrange themselves in a new orderly way instead of the disarrangement in which they neutralize each other a bar magnet into two parts, one finds that each of the two parts is a magnet having both a north pole and a south pole. In other words, we obtain two smaller magnets instead of our having a single one of a larger size. Dividing one of these two smaller magnets into two will give us the same result. Thus, we could continue this process, always get­ting similar results

On placing an unmagnetized iron bar near a strong magnet, we mag­netize it. Rubbing the magnet is not required for that process. In other words, our iron bar has been magnetized by the strong magnet without rubbing it.

Exercises

 






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