Explaining Magnet Usage in the Netflix Original Stranger Things
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished watching Season 3 of Stranger Things! When a television show makes science references, they can either go over our heads or have us thinking “is that really true?”
We wrote a previous article about magnetic properties being discussed in the show: when the characters noticed things were going wrong, something “strange” was happening with their compass -- the needle was no longer pointing true North (though, it should be pointed to magnetic North). In this particular episode, they did an experiment and found that all of the compasses were deviating from pointing north, showing a very strong magnetic interference going on. We decided, for the most part, this event could be “real.”
In a recent episode, magnetism has come up again. Below, we’re talking about if this new scenario is also possible.
Character Joyce Byers notices her fridge magnets stop working when they fall on the floor. She goes to a local science teacher, Scott Clarke, to get an explanation. Scott mentions a solenoid -- a coil wrapped around a metallic core that can create an electromagnetic field when electricity passes through it. He says, if you add a solid ferromagnetic core (like iron) to a coil of wire (solenoid), it can make a stronger magnetic field.
So, Is This Real?
If you have a solenoid that makes a constant magnetic field, it actually won’t interact with any charged object, as the object must have moving, charged particles. The magnetic field of an activated solenoid has positive and negative poles that will attract or repel magnetic material. The notion of demagnetizing is true, though, and you can read more about it in this article. Scott’s explanation just isn’t 100%. You can read about how a solenoid actually works, according to Scienceing.com.
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