Magnets are fun to play with. Magnets attract paper clips but not aluminum washers. Why is that? Magnets attract other magnets -- sometimes. If they are held in a certain way two magnets will repel each other or, perhaps, repel each other until one spins around and then jumps back to the other. Magnets make great toys but they have more serious uses, too. Magnets can tell directions because compasses are just bar magnets. Magnets are used in motors -- from electric starter motors in our automobiles to linear induction motors that propel modern rapid transit trains.


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(c) Doug Davis, 2003; all rights reserved