Magnetic Pendulums

From: YouthToday (
Date: Wed Jan 28 1998 - 06:40:03 PST

I sent you an email about this snack in December but it looks like it didn't
get posted. I'm trying to help my 11 year old son (7th grade) do this for a
science project. We followed the instructions exactly and it didn't work at
all. We started out using 22 guage magentic wire which didn't work, then
moved on to 28 and 30 guage wire - none of which worked. His scinece teacher
suggested using something finer and we tried using telephone wire which worked
very, very slightly. You had to swing the first wire just ever so slightly
and then you could only see the 2nd wire move ever so slightly. Our question
is why does it only work with the finest guage wire and also from the way you
describe it should work it seems like you should be able to swing the first
wire freely and the 2nd wire would then start swinging back and forth visibly.
I mean you can see it move but it's barely discernable. What's going on? How
can we make it look better? We're running out of time -- can you help?

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