Scientists create most powerful indoor magnetic field, blow up own lab


Who says scientists don’t know how to have fun?

I thought this kind of thing only happened in bad sci-fi movies.

I know I’ve found my kinda scientists when they have as many scars as a mechanic.:cool:

Reminds me of the days we would test great big switches at Allen-Bradley in Milwaukee. We put a block of wood in the path of the switch so it couldn’t close then get it all juiced up and trigger it to see if the NEMA cabinet would hold the resulting kaboom.

You would have loved Father Victory then, although in his case it was from having a complicated glassware apparatus blow up.

“…and this, my children, is why you must always wear your safety goggles!”

Now I’m thinking of the demon core which, after it had already killed one person, one scientist propped the shielding up with a screwdriver.

Uh-oh, it’s coming! And it’s pissed!

Wow! Thanks for that link. Absolutely amazing how reckless they were. :eek::eek::eek:

The Difference is my favorite XKCD strip, even above Duty Calls.

The article does say they plan to run it again with a 1500T magnetic field.

^ And then you get THIS:

No excuses. They’ve had ample time and opportunities to observe Magneto and see the bad things that can happen when powerful and uncontrolled magnetic force is released!

Exactly! :smiley:

The story in the OP has probably happened 100 times, in the first five minutes of sci-fi and superhero TV series.

One of my favorites tales occurred in a research lab, although it was unofficial. I was working in the Rocket Engine Test Facility at Lewis. It is off the main lab and in a deep valley for obvious reasons. We spotted a huge hornet’s nest in a tree. They were fairly common and since we had to go up various scaffolds and ladders to operate valves during setup we liked to get rid of them before one of us got stung.

We tried the usual triclorethane spray but it was too high up. We managed to toss an electrical cord over the branch it hung on and hoisted up a few firecrackers someone had. Rigged up a hot wire ignitor and touched it to a battery. Nothing, just some angry hornets.

So Fred says, “Hey , I have an idea. Let’s use an oxy-acetelyne balloon.” Of course I knew about this kind of thing but had never actually tried one. Someone came up with a party balloon and we filled it with a stoichiometric mixture. I was walking around holding it for a while because we had some visitors. Then we pulled it up with the wire and set it off.

OH. MY. FUCKING. GAWD. The brilliant flash and thunderclap stunned us. It was like the last salute at the end of a fireworks display. You know, the boom -boom -boom -BOOOM! The entire 3 " branch fell to the ground. Burning pieces of nest fluttered to the ground. The few remaining hornets slowly circled leaving trails of smoke. We went in different directions expecting the fire department to show up.

But since we blew up there regularly anyway, it caused no immediate concern on the main lab. The funny thing was, afterwards several people asked what happened at 2:00 (or whatever). Not one of them got the time correct. So much for eyewitnesses.


To achieve the record, the team used a technique known as electromagnetic flux-compression (EMFC). They attached their instrument, which generates a low-strength, static magnetic field of 3.2 T, to a row of capacitors that generate a huge amount of energy – 3.2 megajoules.

So, you’re saying they used a flux capacitor to generate 3.2 megajoules, (pronounced mega ghouls)? How much is that in jiggawatts?

When I first read about it, I was thinking, “Isn’t that how you get superpowers?”

Related: These guys use very strong magnetic fields to shrink coins. The massive and rapidly-changing electrical current in their work coil induces a current in the coin; the two currents result in opposing magnetic fields, which simultaneously cause the coin to be crushed radially, and the coil also explodes violently outwards. Far less energy than the event in the OP’s article (thousands of joules instead of millions), but the ability to crush a coin is pretty cool.

What the hell is a jiggawatt?

And here’s the Bad Sci-Fi Movie – The Magnetic Monster

Looks like they actually created Serranium.

Anything you make it.

Old-fashioned pronunciation of gigawatt.