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# Magnet

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The Magnet - Back to the Logic Puzzles

This logic puzzle was published in Martin Gardner's column in the Scientific American.

You are in a room with no metal objects except for two iron rods. Only one of them is a magnet.

How can you identify which one is a magnet?

This old topic is locked since it was answered many times. You can check solution in the Spoiler below.

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Magnet - solution

You can hang the iron rods on a string and watch which one turns to the north (or hang just one rod).

Gardner gives one more solution: take one rod and touch with its end the middle of the second rod. If they get closer, then you have a magnet in your hand.

The real magnet will have a magnetic field at its poles, but not at its center. So as previously mentioned, if you take the iron bar and touch its tip to the magnet's center, the iron bar will not be attracted. This is assuming that the magnet's poles are at its ends. If the poles run through the length of the magnet, then it would be much harder to use this method.

In that case, rotate one rod around its axis while holding an end of the other to its middle. If the rotating rod is the magnet, the force will fluctuate as the rod rotates. If the rotating rod is not magnetic, the force is constant (provided you can keep their positions steady).

This is a logic puzzle published in Martin Gardner's column in the Scientific American.

You are in a room where there are no metal objects except for two iron rods. Only one of them is a magnet.

How can you identify this magnet?

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I thought about this all day, and after coming up with a solution I was surprised to come home and read that the provided solution actually seemed much more complicated than the one I came up with, it's usually the other way around.

Alternate solution: Break one or both rods and the one who's pieces attract or repel eachother is your magnet.

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accually hanging the rods ona string would not help because they will both point in a directin how are you sopposed to know which direction is north? so the obvious answer would be to take both poles... and with the pole in the right hand touch the top of the pole in the left hand with the top of the pole in the right hand... it will either stick or repel... not with the top of the pole in the right hand touch the botton of the pole in the left hand... if the magnet is in the right hand it will do the same as b4 either stick or repel... but if it in your left hand it will do the oposite

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hay... u can hang both the rods.. and both will orient to some direction.. as u said, we dont know which is north.. but we could do one thing.. we can disturb both the hanging rods.. the one whic returns to a perticular orientation/direction is the magnet.. and the other one is the iron rod.. how does that go????

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There could be one other way.

Metal rods that are magnetized are vulnerable to impacts because the aligned electrons can be misaligned with a good bang. Of course this method has a 50% chance of messing up the magnet but it should yield a correct answer.

So, if you take a rod and bang it a couple of times and see no change in the intensity of the pull then you are most likely holding an ordinary iron rod.

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It IS possible to find the magnetic rod by suspending them on strings::

Suspend both rods, and like most of you pointed out, both will come to rest at some arbitrary positions. Now disturb both slightly, the magnetic rod will always return to the same orientation.

R

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Use a diamond file to make some shavings off of one rod. Sprinkle these over each rod, if they stick to only one rod you have shaved the non-magnetic rod, but if they stick to both, then you've shaved the magnetic one.

Also, aren't certain stones affected my magnetism? Bring one of those along for a quick test.

Leave the two rods touching for long enough for the non-magnetized one to become magnetized, then they both are.

Brink a floppy disk and rub one rod over it vigorously. Later at home, of the data has been erased, you know you were using the magnetic rod.

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You can't use files and stuff because the puzzle says ithat there are no metal objects in the room. (No floppy discs either, probably)

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thus again a prime example of the theory of magnetivity: all that can be attracted will, those which can not..... haven't met me yet seriously joking! oxymorons are cool.

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Braces can sure help in this puzzle!!!!!!!!!!

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You can't use files and stuff because the puzzle says ithat there are no metal objects in the room. (No floppy discs either, probably)

Dude, what part of a DIAMOND file is made of metal? Also, floppy disks (all 5.25", and many 3.5" if the enclosure spring is removed) are made of PLASTIC.

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I thought about this all day, and after coming up with a solution I was surprised to come home and read that the provided solution actually seemed much more complicated than the one I came up with, it's usually the other way around.

Alternate solution: Break one or both rods and the one who's pieces attract or repel eachother is your magnet.

how and/or with what can you break an iron rod. who are you the hulk. question...when you get mad, do you turn green?

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Alternate solution: Break one or both rods and the one who's pieces attract or repel eachother is your magnet.

how and/or with what can you break an iron rod. who are you the hulk. question...when you get mad, do you turn green?

I too was wondering how he purposed to do that, but it did give me the inspiration for the diamond file, so I wasn't going to razz him about it. But since you've got the ball rolling...

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See which one attracts the other?

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You can't use files and stuff because the puzzle says ithat there are no metal objects in the room. (No floppy discs either, probably)

Dude, what part of a DIAMOND file is made of metal? Also, floppy disks (all 5.25", and many 3.5" if the enclosure spring is removed) are made of PLASTIC.

Dude, diamond files aren't made of diamonds. They are ordinary files sprinkled with industrial quality diamond chards the type that can't be used for jewelry.

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The solution I first thought of was:

1. Rub one end of each rod together to make that end of the iron rod mag.

2. Flip one rod around and see if it attracts (not the mag) or repels (mag).

Don't know if it would work,

oh, Iron is not Steel, and it is pretty easy to get filings. You could use a concrete floor or something.

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You can't use files and stuff because the puzzle says ithat there are no metal objects in the room. (No floppy discs either, probably)

Dude, what part of a DIAMOND file is made of metal? Also, floppy disks (all 5.25", and many 3.5" if the enclosure spring is removed) are made of PLASTIC.

Dude, diamond files aren't made of diamonds. They are ordinary files sprinkled with industrial quality diamond chards the type that can't be used for jewelry.

Alright guy, use a little imagination here, the pertinent part of the file IS diamond, and for the rest of it, there is no material on earth you could construct a file out of besides metal? Carbon composite, high resin plastics, fiberglass? ...There are myriad materials that could serve as the base for my file; why you gotta be a hater?

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It's even easier than all that filing and breaking and stuff... Pick up one and try to pick up the other. The one that will pick up the other is the magnet.

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stick one rod to the other

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It's even easier than all that filing and breaking and stuff... Pick up one and try to pick up the other. The one that will pick up the other is the magnet.

stick one rod to the other

What??!!?!?

So the two rods attract, yes, we know one is a magnet. The magnetic attraction between the rods is a function only of the distance between them and the power of the magnetic field. Holding the magnet will not increase it's energy flow and reveal it. If the magnet is strong enough to lift the rod off the table, it will also be strong enough to lift itself off the table when passing the rod over it!

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Alternate solution: Break one or both rods and the one who's pieces attract or repel eachother is your magnet.

you stoll my idea! or wich ever atttrct the non-magnet.

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Magnets lose their magnetic field when you hit them hard.

So if you bash one rod against a wall or the floor and then see if the rods are still attracted, if they are, then the other is the magnet.

If they don't attract... Well then you'll know which one WAS the magnet.

which it doesn't matter that it's broken unless you need it to escape the room or something.

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accually hanging the rods ona string would not help because they will both point in a directin how are you sopposed to know which direction is north?

Well, the metal rod (non-magnet) would probably constantly rotate, even just a little, especially if nudged.

the magnet would point in one direction steadfast and if you nudged it, it would go back to it's original position.

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Alternate solution: Break one or both rods and the one who's pieces attract or repel eachother is your magnet.

you stoll my idea! or wich ever atttrct the non-magnet.

You both must be MAD yo-s.

Break the rod?

Why not fedex it to NASA and see what they say?

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well...the puzzle doesnt say anything about leaving the room....take the tube of a monitor in[the glass part] move it in front of one and leave...go reinstall it and if the screen is distorted you found your magnet

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