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Name: Ashley
Status: educator
Grade: K-3
Location: AS
Country: Australia
Date: Spring 2012

What makes magnets push and pull against each other?

Hi Ashley,

Magnets have an attraction and a repulsion force that we can see, measure and even use to better our living. We may also run experiments to see what it does and then use Science to explain what it does and how it behaves. It behaves so we may see attraction and repulsion; our fingertips can measure the strength of that. We run experiments that show electricity forces and magnetic forces are related. But what makes magnets do that?

We really do not know what makes a magnet push and pull, it just does. The magnetic force, what is it? It just β€œis”.

To quote physicist Richard Feynmann, β€œI really can't do a good job, any job, of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else you're more familiar with, because I don't understand it in terms of anything else you're more familiar with.”

Ashley, your curiosity is appreciated and you are in very good company! Keep asking the difficult question(s) !

Peter E. Hughes, Ph.D. Milford, NH

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