Magnetic Illusions (Inverter Magnet): Truly the stuff of science fiction

The Inverter Magnet is an amazing new discovery that until recently only existed in science fiction! The Inverter Magnet contains six small neodymium magnets arranged around the edge, and two larger neodymium magnets placed in the centre. These two central magnets are stacked one on top of the other.

There is also a test magnet, which consists of another pair of circular magnets, identical to the ones in the centre of the array. The magnets are so arranged that the test magnet is attracted to the central magnet in the array, but repelled by the six small magnets around the edge.

When you bring the test magnet towards the inverter magnet, initially it is attracted towards it. But then, when it gets close, it starts to be affected by the repulsive force from the small magnets. What happens next is really unexpected. The test magnet stops short of the array, leaving an air gap between the two. If you then slide the array across the table, the test magnet will follow, locked in position, as if by an invisible connection.

You can move either the inverter magnet, or the test magnet, and the other magnet will follow. Also, if you rotate the array, the test magnet will rotate, since it is held in a magnetic sweet spot, which occurs between two of the small magnets.

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