Levitating Frogs May Destroy Everything*

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So let's say you've got a high-energy magnetic field. You could do a lot with it -- erase a hard drive, stick some fridge magnets to it, dramatically conclude the fifth season of Lost (ahem) -- but no, researchers in the Netherlands used their terrifying magnetic power to levitate a frog in mid-air. Here it is:

A NewScientist article explains:

The levitation trick works because giant magnetic fields slightly distort the orbits of electrons in the frog's atoms. The resulting electric current generates a magnetic field in the opposite direction to that of the magnet. A field of 16 teslas created an attractive force strong enough to make the frog float—until it made its escape.

The team has also levitated plants, grasshoppers and fish. "If you have a magnet that is big enough, you could levitate a human," says Peter Main, one of the researchers.

Videos of the levitating strawberry, grasshopper, and water droplets after the jump.

Although I'm presenting this as news, it's just news to me. According to the New Scientist article, this all went down in 1997. Kudos to Kottke.org for popularizing the frog video; the original post about all this business (including some Lost-related speculation) is at afrooz.

* = Destruction of everything based on atypical results in theoretical alternate universe. Your results may vary.

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May 15, 2009 - 1:03pm
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