Author Archives: Abdul Wahab


horse-shoe-permanent-magnetYou may have probably played with magnets in your childhood. These magnets attract and repel each other. Kids love to stick magnets on iron objects and on their fridge. But, magnets are more than just a toy for playing. Today, magnets play important role in shaping our modern world. Everybody is somehow dependent on it. Let’s find out the amazing information and their facts.

What is Magnetism?

Magnetism is a physical phenomenon that arises due to the motion of the charged particles, like electrons in the magnets. The moving electrons produce a field around them that is called magnetic field. This magnetic field is the cause of the magnetic effects that you observe when playing with magnets, like attraction and repulsion. The magnets that you have played with are called permanent magnetic. These magnets mostly contain iron metal. The iron and few other metals that can become a magnet, or attracted towards them are called ferromagnetic materials (we will discuss them in later sections).

You may be thinking, how and why electrons move in the iron?

hydrogen-atomThe simple answer is that the electrons continuously revolve around the nucleus of atoms. Moreover, electrons also jump from atoms to atoms, which further contribute to the overall motion of the electrons that produce magnet field. Now you may be thinking that iron metal has a motion of electron that produces a magnetic field. Then, why every iron material does not have magnetism? To answer this, let’s understand the concept of magnetic domain.

Magnetic Domains

Each atom in the iron (and other ferromagnetic materials) material produce a very small magnetic field due to the motion of electrons. These individual magnetic fields point to a direction according to the orientation of their respective atoms. The orientation of these atoms is random. So, it forms regions in the iron object (and other magnetic materials), in which the overall magnetic field of the atoms points to the same direction. These regions are called magnetic domain.magnetic-domains

You can simply consider each magnetic domain as a region, in which all atoms produce the magnetic field in the same direction. In non-magnetic iron objects, these domains are randomly aligned. As a result, the total magnetic field of that iron object is zero, and it behaves as a non-magnetic object. When all the magnetic domains are aligned in the same direction, then their magnetic fields are added and results into a magnet.magnetic-domain-of-a-magnet

There are many techniques which are used to make an ordinary iron object into a permanent magnet. The simple to do this is to rub a magnet on an iron object in one direction for 20 times. This will reorient the magnetic domains to point their magnetic fields in the same direction. As a result, the ordinary iron object will become a magnet. You also make the screwdrivers in your home into a magnet. This will make it easier for you to pick screws.magnetization-of-a-needle

How the Magnets Attract or Repel?

Recall your memory that, magnets have two poles. One is called North pole, whereas other is called South pole. When you bring the south pole of one magnet near to the south pole of another magnet, they will repel each other. Same is the case when you bring north poles together. But, when you bring the north pole of one magnet near to the south pole of another magnet, they will attract each other. The attraction and repulsion effects, both are simple as well as complicated to understand. But here, we will try to understand them in a simple way.

The magnetic field of a magnetic has a direction, which points from the North Pole towards the South Pole. For simplicity, you can consider that the magnetic field starts from the North Pole and ends at the South Pole. Let’s understand magnetic attraction and repulsion separately.

  • Magnetic Attraction:

    The magnetic field that is started from the North pole must terminate at the South pole. So, when you bring the North Pole of one magnet near to the south pole of another magnet, they will attract each other. Because, magnets always try to reduce the gap between their opposite poles, so that magnetic field can complete its path quickly.magnetic_attraction

  • Magnetic Repulsion:

    The repulsion occurs when the same poles (North-North, or South-South) are brought together. It is because the same poles are not completing the path of the magnetic field, but disturbs its path. So, magnets try to repel each other until they are far from each other.magnetic-repulsion

Magnetic Materials

You may have probably observed that magnets can stick on iron materials. But, there are also other materials on which magnets don’t stick, like clothes, plastics, and glass. This is because all the materials that we know are categorized into 3 categories. The categories are made according to the way the materials behave with magnets or magnetism.

Here is the quick intro of these material categories:

    1. Ferromagnetic Materials:

      These materials are strongly attracted towards the magnets. It is because their atomic structure allows them to easily pass the magnetic field through them. Some of the ferromagnetic materials are iron, cobalt, and nickel.iron-nickel-and-cobalt-ferromagnetic-materials

    2. Paramagnetic Materials:

      These materials feel very small attraction from You won’t even notice this attraction. Some of the examples of this category are Aluminum, zinc, and sodium.aluminum-zinc-sodium-paramagnetic-materials

    3. Diamagnetic Materials:

      These materials are not attracted to the magnets. Instead, they try to avoid them. If you bring a very strong magnet near a lightweight diamagnetic material, you will notice a slight repulsion. Some of the examples of diamagnetic materials are water, copper, and gold.copper-gold-diamagnetic-material

What is an Electromagnet?

Up to here, it was all about the permanent magnets, which remain magnets after the magnetization. There is also another type of magnets, called electromagnets. Electromagnets are similar to permanent magnets; they attract and repel each other and stick to iron objects. The difference is that they only become a magnet when the electric current passes through them. The larger the current flow, the stronger the magnet will become.simple-electromagnet

The electromagnets are usually made by wrapping the enamel coated wire around a ferromagnetic material like iron. When current will flow through the wire, the magnetic field will be produced. One thing to remember is that if the wire is wounded on a ferromagnetic material for making an electromagnet. Then after the current is blocked, the iron object will become a weaker permanent magnet than the electromagnet itself. So, if there is a need of temporary magnetism, iron is not used as a core in electromagnets.

Check Out! simple experiment on the electromagnet and learn how it works.

Uses of Magnets and Electromagnets

Magnets are the essential part of our modern life. Without magnets, you can’t imagine how our world will look like. It is used from our common household items and gadgets to big industries. Here are few uses of magnets:

  • Electric Motors: The electric motor in the toys, water pumps, and fans in a house use magnetism. They use magnetism to convert the electrical energy into rotation. Larger industries also use motors in their processes.dc-motor
  • Computer Hard Disk: Today, computer hard drives can store several TBs (1 TB = 1000 GBs) of data. All this data is stored in the plates which are
  • Loud Speakers: Loudspeakers have small electromagnets that vibrate according to the electric signal it receives from a phone, a computer, or a TV to produce sound.loud-speakers
  • Weight Lifters: Many weightlifters, lift the weight which contains These lifers have very strong electromagnets to lift heavy iron objects like cars and containers. The electromagnets are only turned ON when the weight needs to be lifted and carried.weight-lifter
  • MRI Scanning: Magnetic Resonance Imaging is the technique which is mostly used by physicians. MRI is used to make the images of the organs, bones, and other internal body structures by using strong electromagnets.mri-scanner

A Brief History of Magnets

Let’s dig a little bit into the history of magnets and find out its discovery and progress over time?

Magnets were known to mankind since ancient times. Both Greeks and Chinese claim that the magnet was discovered by them. The first discovered magnet was a stone made of iron ore. It was called lodestone. Ancient people believed that the lodestone has magical powers. These powers allow it to attract iron objects. They thought that lodestone can be used to cure the sick and provides protection against evil spirits.



Later on, people realized that when lodestone is shaped into a needle and placed on a leaf floating on the water, always points in the same direction. This led them to the invention of the compass and due to this reason lodestone was sometimes called “leading stone”.compass-on-the-map

In the 1600s, William Gilbert experimented on magnets and found out that our Earth is a giant magnet (a brilliant discovery). He also found that by rubbing a magnet on an iron object in the same direction makes it a permanent magnet. Moreover, he also told that by heating the permanent magnet, its magnetism is lost.

A very clever discovery in the field of magnetism was made by Oersted in 1820. He discovered the relation between electricity and magnetism. He found that, when current passes through a coil, it deflects the compass needle. Thus, he concluded that electric current produces a magnetic field. Today our electric motors work on his discovery.

In 1831, Michael Faraday discovered that by moving a magnet through a coil, it produces the electric current in the coil. This principle is known as “Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction”. The electric generators work on that principle, and again this law further revolutionized the world. Today, our electricity is produced on the basis of this law at power stations.

Fun Facts

  • Earth is a giant magnet. It produces its magnetic field due to the flow of liquid iron at about 6,000 C (10,800 F) flowing in the center of the Earth.
  • It was once believed that there are islands on earth, made entirely of magnets. They attracted the ships near them, due to iron nails. Resulting in the destruction of the ships.
  • Many birds and sea creatures sense the Earth’s magnetic field like a compass to guide their way.
  • The magnetic field of the Earth protects us from the deadly solar winds.

Poisonous Plants

poisonous-plantsPlants are an important part of nature. They are everywhere in the world and makes our planet green. We all know that they are good for us because they provide us food, wood, and the precious oxygen. But, there are many species of plants that also carry poisons. These poisons may cause itching, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. The poisonous plants play an important role in nature. Let’s dig in deep!

Why Plants Carry Poison?

The first question that everyone will probably ask about the poisonous plants is that, why plants carry poison with them? Because we know plants as good creatures that provide a primary food source to animals, so why they will want to harm the animals? There are some reasons behind it, let’s discuss them.

The primary reason to carry the poison is the protection from herbivores. Herbivores (plant eaters) consume the plants to survive. Suppose if some herbivores start to eat one plant together, they may consume the whole plants. As a result, the plant will die completely. So, some plants have evolved to carry poison in them with varying amount of poison to protect them against herbivory when they are consumed more than average.

Some plants carry permanent poison to protect themselves from herbivores. For examples, leaves of mangrove tree are poisonous to many herbivores. But, few herbivores are able to digest these poisonous leaves, e.g. sloths. As a result, few species can eat these leaves which helps mangrove to survive while providing food to limited herbivores.


Sloth is hanging on a mangrove tree

Uses of Poisonous Plants

Poisons of the plants are of course harmful to animals and humans. But, they are also used by humans in the preparation of some medicines and in some other applications. For example, people have used the poison of ‘Buckeye’ for catching fishes. ‘Digitalis’ plant has provided the first remedy for cardiac, which helped in strengthening the heartbeat.

The Most Poisonous Plants on Earth

Here are some of the plants that are considered most poisonous in the world.

1. Aconitum napellus

It is a beautiful plant with purple color. When eaten it may cause numbness, vomiting and also death. In 2014, BBC reported that a 33 years old gardener died due to touching (or eating) this plant.

2. Castor Bean

When this plant is eaten, it may cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, and death in few days (if the victim is not treated well).

3. Water Hemlock

It is also a beautiful plant with small white-colored flowers. This plant may cause seizures if eaten. It is also the common poisonous plant in UK and US.

Fun Facts

  • Leaves of the apple tree and its seeds contain ‘cyanide’; a very poisonous chemical.
  • Unripen potatoes are also poisonous. They may cause vomiting.
  • Some poisonous plants can cause very intense itching when touched, e.g. Poison Ivy.


Carnivorous Plants

carnivorous-plantYou are probably familiar with the fact that animals like lions, cats, and dogs eat meat as a food source to survive. But, you may be unaware of the fact that many species of plants also eat meat as their food source. These plants are called carnivorous plants that rely on smaller animals such as insects and frogs as their food source.

Why do Plants Eat the Meat?

Carnivorous plants are mostly found in the places where the soil is poor in minerals. So, they can’t get necessary minerals with the help of their roots. They had to find a way to get rich food source. For this, these plants have evolved to catch and digest the small creatures like bees, flies, and smaller frogs.

How do They Catch the Bugs?

There are about 630 known species of the carnivorous plants around the Earth. These species have evolved 5 different types trapping mechanisms to catch their prey. Each species of these plants use anyone trapping mechanism. These trapping mechanisms are:

1. Pitfall traps

Plants that use this trap have funnel-shaped slippery leaves. When a bug lands on their leaves, it just slides to the bottom of the leaf and falls into their digestive enzymes pool where they are digested. “Heliamphora chimantensis” is the species of plants that use this trapping mechanism.


Heliamphora Chimantensis

2. Flypaper traps

In this trap, plants use special glue on their leaves that is secreted by their glands. When bugs sit on their leaves, they are stuck on it and can’t fly away. “Drosera capensis” uses this trapping mechanism.


Drosera Capensis

3. Snap traps

In this trap, plants catch their prey with their mouth shaped leaves whose outer edge is covered with spiky hairs. When a bug lands on its leaf, it senses its movement and shuts instantly. “Venus Flytrap” uses this kind of trap to catch bugs.


Venus Flytrap

4. Bladder traps

The plants that use this trap lives in the water. They just suck-in the insects from the water in their bladder for digestion. “Utricularia vulgaris” uses this kind of trap.


Utricularia Vulgaris

5. Lobsters-pot traps

It is the chamber in the plants which is easy for the bugs to enter but very difficult to go outside. Also, it has inward pointing bristles which further makes the outside route more difficult. “Genlisea violacea” uses this kind of trap.


Genlisea Violacea

How Much Bigger They Can Grow?

Don’t be afraid! Carnivorous plants mostly grow up to 12 inches (1 foot) long, so they are unlikely to trap people and bigger animals. However, some of the species can grow up to about 3 three feet long.

Fun Facts

  • Venus flytrap plants are very famous. Probably due to their jaw shaped leaves that catch the bugs.
  • Carnivorous plants grow in the US, more than any other country.
  • Curious people around the World also grow carnivorous plants in their gardens (JUST FOR FUN!).



  • Symbol: S
  • Atomic Number: 16
  • Atomic Weight: 32
  • Melting Point: 115 °C (239 °F)
  • Boiling Point:6 °C (832 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient times.

Sulfur (also spelled as Sulphur) is a chemical element in the periodic table having the atomic number of 16. It is mostly known for causing very bad smells, but in reality, the pure sulfur is odorless nonmetal element. The smells that irritate us are actually the compounds of sulfur, e.g. Hydrogen Sulfide smells like rotten eggs.

Characteristics and Properties

  • Sulfur is yellow colored nonmetal solid.
  • It has 30 allotropes (Allotropes are made of the same element, but their atoms are organized differently).
  • Sulfur can’t be dissolved in the water. However, it can be dissolved in organic liquids.


Sulfur is a widely used element across the world. Some of its uses are:

  • Sulfur is used to make sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is a strong acid which is used in your car batteries. But, it has many other industrial applications too.
  • It is used for water processing, oil refining, and making fertilizers.
  • It is used for making gunpowder that is used in bullets, and hobby rockets.

Where is it found?

Sulfur is the 10th most abundant element in the universe, and 17th most abundant in Earth’s crust. Sulfur is found in many places around the world. The places where the sulfur is likely found are volcanic sites, natural geysers, hydro-thermal vents, and hot water springs. Sulfur is found in both pure forms and in minerals. Some minerals of sulfur are pyrite, barite, and gypsum.

The largest sulfur producing country is China. Other countries that also produce sulfur are US, Canada, and Russia.


Sulfur is available in its pure form in nature, so ancient people had known about the sulfur. Chinese had known the reactivity and uses of sulfur in medicines and black gunpowder.  They used black gunpowder in fireworks. Sulfur was considered as a compound rather than an element. It was proved by Antoine Lavoisier in 1777 that sulfur is an element.

Fun Facts

  • The 8th most abundant element in our bodies is sulfur.
  • Sulfur dioxide is a toxic gas released mostly by power plants and factories. When this gas mixes with moisture in the atmosphere it causes acid rain.
  • When the sulfur melts, it is converted into a red color


Snakes are flexible reptile; they have a long body much like a rope. They are feared by the majority of the people around the world. However, some people love to stay with snakes and keep them as a pet. There are about 3,000 different species of snakes found across all over the world. Majority of the snakes are non-venomous, only 375 species of snakes carry poison to kill their prey.

How do they look like?

Snakes are similar in shape to a rope. But, their body is muscular which gives a very good degree of freedom to move and turn in any direction. Their body length varies from 10 cm (4 inches) to 9 meters (30 feet). They have a wide range of colors depending on the location where they live. Poisonous snakes mostly have bright colors, whereas rest of the snakes have dull colors.


Snakes are carnivores (meat eater). They hunt down smaller animals and swallow them as a whole. They have a very slow metabolism. Once they eat food it takes a day or more to digest it. Due to this reason, they don’t come outside for hunting regularly. They mostly eat frogs, rodents, birds, and other small animals.


Snakes are the creatures that are found on every continent of the Earth except the Antarctica. Each continent has different species of snakes depending on their climate and food availability. Snakes are cold blooded animals, and avoid to live in very cold areas e.g. Antarctica and Iceland. They are found in jungles, deserts, water, and undergrounds.

Conservation Status

Some species of the snakes are declared as endangered. St. Lucia racer is a species of the snakes whose number has decreased below 100.

Fun Facts

  • Cobra snake can live for months without eating any food.



  • Sometimes eating a live animal proved to be disastrous for snakes, they just explode after eating. Scientists are still unaware of this fact.
  • Some sea snakes have the ability to breathe partially through their skin. It helps them to stay underwater for a long period of time.