Day 31 – It’s Simply Magnetizing!

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein

Yesterday I attended my son’s fifth-grade class field trip to the Mag Lab (the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory) for a tour. Carlos Villa, Mag Lab employee extraordinaire, was our host; he started our exploration with an experiment using a mixture of magnesium sulfate, a magnet, and two pieces of copper, attached to a 9-volt battery. The copper changed colors, reacting with the magnesium sulfate. That much I understood. I thought, “if my science teachers had been like Carlos, I would have paid attention!” The rest of the tour was just as enlightening. Did you know that helium is not replaceable? Those balloons just float off into space with the helium, never to return again. Now my son feels guilty for releasing so many balloons.

I was enthralled by the ingenuity and pure genius of those Mag Lab employees. I learned about the “Bitter Plate,” which is a round plate (think doughnut), with lots of tiny holes all around that help to cool magnets. Then we were shown the “Florida plate,” developed right here in Tallahassee, Florida, at the Mag Lab. This plate is also round, but instead of holes, it contains slits, which helps to cool the magnet faster. These Florida plates were the subject of yesterday’s picture. The Mag Lab has used some of these plates (both the Bitter and Florida) as decorations throughout the facility. I was inspired by the patterns. How cool!

I’m far from a scientist, but I certainly can appreciate these geniuses applying their knowledge, curiosity, and experimentation. And I learned you can find the beauty in science. You just have to look!

Ready for today’s mystery “what is it?!?” picture? I promise this one was not taken at the Mag Lab. 😉

What Is It?!?

Image

What Was That?!? Yesterday’s Picture (Day 30)

As explained above, yesterday’s photograph was inspired by my trip to the Mag Lab, and the patterns of the Florida Plates caught my attention. The picture was of the Florida Plates on a spool. I loved the Bitter Plates, too. Here’s a couple of different perspectives.

ImageThe top picture shows the Bitter Plate on the outside and the Florida Plate on the inside. Both are used to help cool magnets.Image

Many of these plates (both Bitter and Florida), such as the ones in the bottom image, are used as decorative pieces in the Mag Lab. Apparently I wasn’t the first one to notice their beauty. 

 

 

 

 

 

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