Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Magnetic movie

Of course, we cannot see magnetic fields other than in the aurora borealis, that is why we have computer animation. Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt of Semiconductor are two masters in the use of computer animations for visualizing phenomena.

Their Magnetic Movie, filmed in the NASA's Space Sciences Laboratories at UC Berkeley was awarded the Nature Scientific Merit Award by Imagine Science Film Festival, New York 2009; awarded Best Film at Cutting Edge at the British Animation Awards 2008; received the special Mention, Best International Experimental Short at Leeds International Film Festival 2008; and was awarded Best Experimental Film at Tirana International Film Festival 2007.

Magnetic Movie from Semiconductor on Vimeo.


  1. re: "we cannot see magnetic fields" Why is this not "seeing" magnetic fields?

  2. I meant seeing in the sense of detecting photons. In your image we detect the iron particles, which happen to be lined up along the magnetic field, so it is a visualization. In the aurora instead you detect photons from excited particles (see, namely nitrogen or oxigen and nitrogen atoms excited by the collision of solar wind particles being funneled down and accelerated along the Earth's magnetic field lines. The movie is an animation and a good example of spinning a message for a good purpose.

  3. We also see the iron filings with photons; just at a lower temp.

    I'm also not sure how much I should believe the movie. All simulations are programming. All programs have bugs (except for LaTeX--jk).

    I trust iron filings (mostly).