WATCH: Magnetism only exists because of quantum mechanics

Next time you stick a magnet to your fridge, you may be surprised to learn that you’re using a quantum mechanical phenomenon.

Although magnetism has been known for centuries to be, quite literally, all around us (even our blood is magnetic!), scientists have just begun to understand in the past century that magnetism is a purely quantum mechanical phenomenon. 

The Bohr-van Leeuwen theorem, which proved this, has been called one of the most deflationary theorems in modern science because it means that classical physics cannot account for magnetism, as previously thought.

So how exactly does quantum mechanics cause magnetism, and how can scientists prove this? 

Find out in the latest episode of The Quantum Around You above, hosted by one of our favourite physics lecturers Associate Professor Andrea Morello from the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia. New episodes come out every Tuesday.

Finally someone has answered the important question, f*cking magnets, how do they work?

Next question: does this mean Magneto from X-Men can manipulate quantum phenomena?

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Image: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation & Marvel Enterprises
Source: UNSW eLearning