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Published: 25 April 1996

272 Pages | 23 b/w illus.

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195106558

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Bookseller Code (06)

Hidden Attraction

The History and Mystery of Magnetism

Gerrit L. Verschuur

Long one of nature's most fascinating phenomena, magnetism was once the subject of many superstitions. Magnets were thought useful to thieves, effective as a love potion, and as a cure for gout or spasms. They could remove sorcery from women and put demons to flight and even reconcile married couples. It was said that a lodestone pickled in the salt of sucking fish had the power to attract gold. Today, these beliefs have been put aside, but magnetism is no less remarkable for our modern understanding of it.
In Hidden Attraction, Gerrit L. Verschuur, a noted astronomer and National Book Award nominee for The Invisible Universe, traces the history of our fascination with magnetism, from the mystery and superstition that propelled the first alchemical experiments with lodestone, through the more tangible works of Faraday, Maxwell, Hertz and other great pioneers of magnetism (scientists responsible for the extraordinary advances in modern science and technology, including radio, the telephone, and computers, that characterize the twentieth century), to state-of-the-art theories that see magnetism as a basic force in the universe. Boasting many informative illustrations, this is an adventure of the mind, using the specific phenomenon of magnetism to show how we have moved from an era of superstitions to one in which the Theory of Everything looms on the horizon.