30 Jul '14, 7pm

Build a Levitating Disco Ball

Build a Levitating Disco Ball

In 1979, when I was 11 and enthralled by Star Wars , magnetism held a special appeal. It was the closest thing in the real world to “the Force.” So for our fifth-grade science project, a friend and I wrapped my dad’s iron chisel with wire to make an electromagnet. When connected to a lantern battery, it grabbed, repulsed, and spun bar magnets like magic. But when we got curious and plugged it into a wall socket, the resulting pop and puff of smoke produced an unforgettable jolt. The experience sparked a lasting fascination with magnetism. So when my son Liam, contemplating what to make for his own fifth-grade science fair, suggested making a magnetic levitation gizmo, I was irresistibly drawn to the idea. The project turned out to be surprisingly challenging. Initially, we envisioned some simple circuitry that would make a miniature space ship from Star Trek (actually a Ch...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/hands-on/build-a-levit...

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