(Last Updated on : 30/12/2009)
A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field. There is a simple way to detect a magnetic field by scattering iron filings and observe their pattern. Magnetism is a common term in the fields of physics, industry and commerce.
A `hard` or `permanent` magnet is one that stays magnetized and a `soft` or `impermanent` magnet is one that loses its memory of previous magnetizations. The remarkable effects of magnet on certain metals as well as on living organisms are known for centuries. Magnet is also highly beneficial with its clinical impact on human ailments, which is a comparatively recent development and is not yet widely known.
The magnet is known by various names in different languages. The original iron-ore, which possessed the attracting power and was natural magnet, was named `Magnetite`. It was also known as `loadstone` or `lodestone`. The word loadstone was derived from the word `load` used in old English, which among other things, meant course, journey, etc., conveying the idea of direction. The term `Magnetis` or `Magnesetos` (meaning stone) was used by the Greeks for magnet and the French known it by the name `Aimant` (meaning magnet and loving).
In Hindi magnet is known as `Chumbak` (kissing stone) and in Urdu and Persian it is called `Maqnatees`. The Chinese call it by the term `Chu Shr` (meaning loving stone). According to the gemologists, the magnet is considered to be one of the several precious gems, which are advised to be worn for various purposes. It is worn mainly for maintenance of health, for peace of mind and for general prosperity. Hence, it is also called a `gem`.
The celebrities wear magnets for the purpose of maintaining vigorous health and to stop ageing of their bodies. It is said that Cleopatra, the extremely beautiful daughter of the king of Egypt, Ptolemy Aulete used to wear a magnet on her forehead to maintain her beauty.
Magnet was also used as a good luck charm and also to get relief from headaches. Common people believe in the divine force of the magnet. As per one of the philosopher-scientist `a magnet has a soul because it moved iron`. It seems that a magnet cannot have life, yet the intelligence of its poles to recognize friendship or hatred of the poles of another magnet and to attract or repel it accordingly, remains unexplained even today.
The medical use of magnet in the recovery of certain diseases is proved now. It has the power of drawing pain out of the body, relieving stiffness of joints and muscles and of removing toothache immediately. The long time use of magnet reduces weight in obesity, increases height of short-statured boys and girls and also increases intelligence and wisdom. The magnet also corrects blood pressure and provides immunity against certain diseases of human body by increasing the vitalising secretions.