• Question: If iron is magnetic and we have iron in our blood, does that mean we're magnetic?

    Asked by michellerana to Cesar, Emily, Jamie, Kate, Philippa on 20 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by dillonlancaster.
    • Photo: Jamie Gallagher

      Jamie Gallagher answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      Hey Michelle,

      That is a great question! It is great because you have thought about it like a real scientist. You have taken two ideas, seen the link and come up with a new idea, briliant.

      Iron is magnetic but we do not have enough in our blood to make us magnetic. However, I will tell you one of my favourite scientific facts. Water is very slightly magnetic. If you expose water to a very very strong magnet it will become magnetic. We can do this to levitate things filled with water!

      Check this out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1vyB-O5i6E

      We couldnt do this with humans safely though, we are just too heavy. Poor frog

    • Photo: Philippa Demonte

      Philippa Demonte answered on 16 Jun 2011:

      @michellerana Good question! I don’t know the answer, BUT I do know that a weak magnetic field can be induced within the body by an external magnetic source, as this technique is used safely by hospitals to do magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. I had to have one when my back was hurting and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong. The MRI scan showed that I had damaged 3 of the discs in my back.

    • Photo: Emily Robinson

      Emily Robinson answered on 19 Jun 2011:

      This is a brilliant question!! Just like philippa said the water in our body is very useful to use for MRI scanning as it can be slightly changed by a magnetic pulse. Somebody in my lab is using this technique to look at the brain of a rat right after it has had a stroke. This is a very interesting area of stroke research as it can be directly related to what we can see in human patients in hospital MRI scanners soon after they have had a stroke. As animal researchers we are constantly trying to make direct comparisons to what you see in patients.

    • Photo: Kate Clancy

      Kate Clancy answered on 20 Jun 2011:

      I’m just going to say that, for the record, I’ve always thought it would be cool to be Magneto from X-men. 😉