Magnets and Poles
Name: Zeynep T.
Date: Monday, June 17, 2002
Why do magnets have poles?
We cannot give a definite reason why magnets were "designed" to have poles.
We can only talk about what the poles really are, how they relate to the
magnet. For a magnet to affect the world around it, magnetic field extends
from the magnet to the world. That magnetic field must eventually come back
to the magnet. Magnetic fields always form complete loops. Where most of
the magnetic field lines comes out of the magnet is called the north-seeking
pole. Where they enter back into the magnet is called the south-seeking
pole. Nobody has ever discovered a magnetic field line that doesn't form a
complete circle, though many scientists have tried. If you should ever find
such a thing, you will have discovered a "magnetic monopole".
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012