Page four stimulated a number of comments from friends that lead to a bit of a dialogue change. The specific change was in response to an email conversation with my pal and JC physicist Jamie White. Jamie and his family are on sabbatical in Australia, but he is still offering editorial commentary from a distance. The specific problem he noted was that I invoked an example of magnetic fields to explain an electrical field phenomenon. They are, of course, not the same thing. It is most likely that the students I am trying to reach wouldn’t catch that, but their teachers might and the teachers are who I need to win over if I want the story to be used. I have rewritten a sentence to refine the dialogue for accuracy.Thus, the following bit of dialogue:
“Anyone whose [sic] played with magnets knows that opposite charges attract, but similar charges repel each other.”
“When we consider the electrical forces between molecules, opposite charges attract, but similar charges repel each other.”
It isn’t as elegant (in my opinion) and it doesn’t evoke the very familiar sensation of trying to push two refrigerator magnets together, but this was one of those times when I felt it was better to err on the side of accuracy. For one thing, the idea that similar charges repel isn’t a difficult concept for people to grasp (we do routinely say that “opposites attract”) so, I don’t think the loss is significant. The fixed page is below and has been inserted into the whole story over on the ATP post.