Spinning the Core

Laboratory dynamos attempt to generate magnetic fields the way planets and stars do

By Alexandra Witze, 15:28 PM May 2, 2013

Daniel Lathrop spent seven years and $2 million building the stainless steel sphere in his laboratory. It’s two spheres, actually — nestled one within the other like a pair of Russian dolls. Only these dolls contain 12 tons of molten metal and spin independently at astonishing speeds.

 

With his contraption, Lathrop, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park, hopes to re-create the Earth’s spinning metal heart. As the planet rotates on its axis, electrically conducting liquid ir...

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