jimpretzer: (Default)
[personal profile] jimpretzer
Yesterday it struck me that magnetism is really strange.  Consider a magnet that is holding a paperclip up in the air.  it is exerting enough force to overcome the pull of gravity and it will continue doing so indefinitely without anyone needing to put in new batteries, or wind it up, or anything.  How does it do that? and how does that not violate conservation of energy?

Date: 2012-09-04 03:15 am (UTC)
l33tminion: (Mad Scientist)
From: [personal profile] l33tminion
Not really stranger than every (non-massless) particle in the universe exerting a gravitational force on every other (non-massless) particle in the universe. Those don't need to be "recharged", either. (Presumably the small and weak nuclear forces would seem as strange if they were visible on the macro scale.)

I'm a little mystified as to why apparent violation of conservation of energy is what mystifies you about the scenario you outline. Where is energy changing in the scenario you outlined?

There are plenty of scenarios involving gravity and magnetism where net kinetic energy does change, but conservation of energy doesn't work unless you include potential energy.

As to why given sets of particles interact with given fundamental forces in a particular way, well, that is strange. Read about the most recent developments in particle physics and you'll find it gets weird fast.


jimpretzer: (Default)

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