Magnetically Levitating Frogs: Or, How Does Magneto Make Non-Magnetic Objects Fly?

Originally posted to the Magneto Mailing List on 4/14/96 by Tia'RaHu.

From the Des Moines Sunday Register, April 13, 1997:


London, England (AP) - British and Dutch scientists say they have succeeded in floating a frog in air - using a magnetic field a million times stronger than that of the Earth.

And, they say, there is no reason why larger creatures, even humans, shouldn't be able to perform the same feat.

"It's perfectly feasible if you have a large enough magnetic field," said Peter Main, professor of physics at Nottingham University, one of the British scientists who collaborated with colleagues at the University of Nijmegen to levitate the frog.

Their endeavors are reported briefly in the current issue of the British magazine New Scientist.

To hold up the frog, the field had to be a million times that of the Earth in order to distort the orbits of the electrons in the frog's atoms, the scientists said.

"If the magnetic field pushes the frog away with sufficient force you will overcome gravity and the frog will float," Main said.

The trick doesn't work only on frogs; scientists say they have made plants, grasshoppers, and fish float in the same way.

"Every ordinary object, whether it be a frog, a grasshopper, or a sandwich, is magnetic, but it's very rare to see such a spectacular demonstration of this," Main said.

The scientists said their frog showed no signs of distress after floating in the air inside a magnetic cylinder.