What is Magnetism?

History of magnetism and electromagnetism

Like everything else magnetism has a history, it has a very interesting history. The history of magnetism is as follows. Magnetism was first discovered as a form of the mineral magnetite called lodestone. The Ancient Greeks were the first to use lodestone and called it magnet because of its ability to attract iron and some other metals. Examples include cobalt and nickel. Famous Englishman William Gilbert was the first person to research systematically on the phenomenon of magnetism by using scientific methods. He also revealed that the Earth is a weak magnet. German man Carl Friedrich Gauss had done the earlier investigations on the Earths magnetism. 

Hans Christian Ørsted, a very famous Danish physicist was the first to suggest that there is a relation between electricity and magnetism. Many experiments focusing on the effects of magnetic and electric fields on each other were performed by Andre Marie Ampere and Michael Faraday. But still they were not the ones who provided the theoretical foundation for the physics of electromagnetism. A man called James Clerk Maxwell provided this. It proved that magnetism and electricity respresent the same aspect of the same basic force field. 

The modern understanding of magnetism is originated from the work of one Frenchmen. His name was Pierre Curie. Pierre Curie analyzed the effect of temperature on different magnetic materials and noticed that the magnetism disappeared after a certain temperature (curie point) in some materials like iron. Pierre Weiss was also an important man in the history of magnetism. 

The present day magnetism phenomenon depends on a theory from the work of two Germans, Ernest Ising and Werner Heisenberg. 

Until 1821, only one kind of magnetism was known which is generated by iron magnets. The present day magnetism, its characteristics and applications are well-known in the field of science and technology. New concepts like study of magnetism in organic matter, diamagnetism, continue to be the areas of interest to many physicists and scientists. The most common and simplest form that we see is the use of magnetism in the magnetic compass.


Curie Point-The curie point is the point when magnetic materials such as iron stop acting like a magnet. They lose their magnetism.  For example iron's curie point is 770°C. But when they are cooled down again it is magnetic again. It is like the melting point of metal, once its melted it isn't a solid anymore but once it is cooled again it is a solid.