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Eddy currents

Alom and I are filming at the moment, hence things being rather quiet around here. However, the above caught my eye. This demo is typically done with a long length of copper pipe, and the magnet takes many seconds to fall through. It’s effective on a stage.

The tall narrow pipe, however, is precisely the wrong shape to film, and on video the demo doesn’t work so well. This shorter length of fatter pipe, with an appropriate magnet, has more impact on camera.

Same principle, same demo… but different treatments for different audience contexts. So, lessons for us all:

  1. Don’t assume that the way you’ve seen a demo performed is the best way. Always look for improvements.
  2. It’s not just the demo that matters, it’s the way you use it.

That separation of ‘content’ and ‘treatment’ is, for me, an absolutely key concept.

Tip of the hat to my dad for sending this in.

4 thoughts on “Eddy currents”

  1. Dropping magnetic rings over rods of different materials works nicely to see what is going on, but lacks the edge of danger that magnet gives the experience….

    the really nice thing about this demo is having more than 2 materials for your magnet to interact with, say plastic, stainless steel, zinc or something that conducts badly for a metal, and some copper or aluminium then your audience can start to generalise and work out what is going on.

  2. The concept of ‘content’ vs. ‘presentation’ is common in many, many areas – web pages, marketing, journalism, etc., but generally less well acknowledged in science, where it is often assumed that, well, content is just that, content, and needs nothing more. The wrapping, the explanation, the presentation, can be just as important (and dare I say it, perhaps more so).

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