Two magnets and a ball bearing: A simple demonstration of the method of images

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Motivated by an observation of a popular children's toy, I investigate the behavior of a bar magnet with a steel ball bearing held on one of its poles as it approaches another bar magnet. Mapping the problem onto electrostatics, I give an explanation of my observations based on the behavior of point charges near an isolated, uncharged sphere. This magnetic analog offers a simple demonstration of the familiar "method of images" in electrostatics. (C) 2003 American Association of Physics Teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-947
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003

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