A cataclysmic planetary phenomenon is gathering force deep within the Earth. The magnetic North Pole will eventually trade places with the South Pole. Satellite evidence suggests to some scientists that the move has already begun, but most still think it won't happen for many decades. All agree that it has happened many times before and will happen again. But this time it will be different. It will be a very bad day for modern civilisation.
Advance Praise for The Spinning Magnet"The Earth's magnetic field -- an invisible cloak that shields our bodies and our technologies from deadly harm -- tends to be taken for granted. In reality it's a fickle, ill-understood phenomenon. Alanna Mitchell delves into the mystery, in an engrossing book that features a new surprise on every page."--Sean Carroll, author of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself "In The Spinning Magnet, Alanna Mitchell weaves a scientific mystery in the best possible way, exploring the ancient puzzle of our planet's electromagnetic field, following scientists as they attempt to decipher its clues, leading us to a better understanding of Earth's invisible and powerful electromagnetic field. The result is a compelling tale of unseen and unforeseen natural forces - and a reminder that we've staked our home on a planet that remains infinitely strange, dangerous - and ever full of wonder." --Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York"A fascinating untold story of science that is full of mystery and intrigue, and written with a great deal of style." --Mark Miodownik, New York Times bestselling author of Stuff Matters, winner of the Royal Society's Winton Prize "In The Spinning Magnet, Alanna Mitchell pulls off the rare trifecta in science writing: an engrossing plot of a planetary mystery, authentic character portraits of scientists and their passion for their work, and explanations of complex physics in easily understandable terms."--Sabine Stanley, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Applied Physics Lab, Johns Hopkins University "Most of us don't think much about magnetism or the Earth's magnetic field. We recognize the importance of navigational compasses and the usefulness of those little magnets that decorate our kitchen refrigerators, but we don't feel magnetism's presence in our daily lives and we suspect we could probably live without it. Think again! In The Spinning Magnet, Alanna Mitchell draws us into a spellbinding scientific detective story, told over the ages, as she nimbly explains magnetism's role in everything that matters. Each chapter is filled with exciting new revelations written in clear crisp prose. A skilled writer, Mitchell puts magnetism on the map!"--Timothy J. Jorgensen, author of Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation, winner of the American Institute of Physics' Science Communication Award"[Mitchell] makes vivid the process of science ... A complex, well-told account of 'this spinning magnet we live on.'"--Kirkus Reviews "Captivating scientific history... an invaluable contribution to the popular science shelf."--Booklist "Mitchell's nontechnical discussion is substantively accessible, and her vivid writing holds the reader's attention. ... Pop science readers and science policy wonks will find plenty to think--and worry--about here." -Publisher's Weekly"An intriguing story of humankind's recent and evolving understanding of the integral electromagnetic properties of our planet that should hold the interest of both teen and adult readers." -Library Journal "We don't usually feature nonfiction books on this list, but science journalist Mitchell's narrative history of the science of electromagnetism--with a look toward the future and the imminent, inevitable reversing of the North and South Poles--sounds as thrilling as any scifi tale." -io9 Advance Praise for The Spinning Magnet"The Earth's magnetic field -- an invisible cloak that shields our bodies and our technologies from deadly harm -- tends to be taken for granted. In reality it's a fickle, ill-understood phenomenon. Alanna Mitchell delves into the mystery, in an engrossing book that features a new surprise on every page." -- Sean Carroll, author of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
ALANNA MITCHELL is an acclaimed science journalist and author of Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, which won the Grantham Prize for excellence in environmental journalism. She won a National Magazine Award in 2014 for a feature on the biology of extinction and in 2015 won a New York International Radio Festival Silver Medal for her science documentary on neonicotinoid pesticides. She has written for The New York Times Science section and is a contributor to CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks.