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Name: Zeynep T.
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Monday, June 17, 2002


Question:
Why do magnets have poles?


Replies:
Zeynep,

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
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College



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