Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks St.
4:00pm

The Spinning Magnet

with Alanna Mitchell
Hosted by Stephen Brockwell

The Spinning Magnet

with Alanna Mitchell
Hosted by Stephen Brockwell
28
Saturday
Apr
2018
4:00pm
Christ Church Cathedral
414 Sparks St.
Alanna Mitchell

Acclaimed poet Stephen Brockwell hosts a conversation with award-winning science journalist Alanna Mitchell on why our future might be a world without electronics or protection from lethal solar radiation. Her new book, The Spinning Magnet, tells the fascinating history of one of the four fundamental physical forces in the universe, electro-magnetism.

 

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 civilization.

 

When the poles switch, a process that takes many years, the Earth is unprotected from solar radiation storms that would, among other things, wipe out all electromagnetic technology. No satellites, no internet, no smart phones–maybe no power grid at all. Such potentially cataclysmic solar storms are not unusual. The last one occurred in 2012 and we avoided returning to the dark ages only because the part of the sun that erupted happened to be facing away from the Earth.

 

Books available for purchase at every event: Proceeds support our free children’s literacy programs.

 

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