Water molecules are ‘diamagnetic’, meaning when inside a magnetic field, they create their own ‘opposite’ field, pushing them away from the magnet.
So if we’re made up of about 70 per cent water, and magnets can push around water molecules, it makes sense that we should be able to use them to make a person float off the ground. While it might be possible in the future, scientists have started with something a little bit smaller.
Several years ago, Dutch researchers used superconductors to create a magnetic field that lifted up a strawberry, a frog and a grasshopper. Now, researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have made an adult mouse float about inside its container.
Given they are mammals like us, making mice levitate could help us understand a bit more about the effect space travel has on our own bodies. In time, it might even prove to be a useful way of creating artificial gravity for astronauts.
Scientists are still yet to figure out how to make a rabbit appear spontaneously inside of a hat, however, which is good news for those magicians eagre to hold onto at least some of their best tricks.
With thanks for the above to the CSIRO Australia, Sciencemail, 18/09/2009