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Fundamentals of Magnetism

  1. Jan 13, 2008 #1
    Hopefully I am posting in the correct forum, but was reading through Cahill's 'Physics 12 for Western Australia' (2nd Edition) and reached chapter 3, regarding magnets and electricity.

    There was one paragraph which confused me, and seeing as the school year has not started yet, there is no way to contact any of my teachers, so I'm hoping there is someone here who can help explain this paragraph:

    "A magnet suspended so that it is free to rotate horizontally will always align itself in a north-south direction. This gives us a natural way to label the ends of the magnet. The one that always points to the north we call the north pole, and the one that points south is called the south pole.

    If the magnet is free to swing vertically as well, in the southern hemisphere the north pole end will point upwards as well as northwards. In the northern hemisphere the north end points downwards. it is as though the Earth itself is acting as a huge magnet, with its south pole to the geopgraphic north and its north pole to the geographic south."

    At first, the final sentence confused me "It is as though the the Earth itself is acting as a huge magnet, with its south pole to the geographic north and its north pole to the geographic south." does this imply, that if the north pole was on the geographic north pole, it would be ON north, hence it can't point north?

    And my second question is in regards to the hemisphere. Why is it that when in a different hemisphere, why do the north poles of a magnet point in different directions?

    Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2008 #2


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  4. Jan 16, 2008 #3
    Thank you for that link, it did help :)
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