Ferrofluids, how do they work? Above, TEDx speaker Fabian Oefner paints with ferrofluids and a magnet.
This year at TEDGlobal, a crazy scene unfolded. Photographer/artist/TEDxWarwick speaker/science geek Fabian Oefner took to the stage with a magnet, plate, syringes, some watercolors, and … ferrofluid.
What’s ferrofluid? Ferrofluid is a type of strongly magnetic liquid that, when manipulated with magnets, does some crazy things — like build spikes, bubble up, and cluster into geometric patterns — all thanks to the attraction and the repulsion of the liquid’s individual particles, as Fabian explains in his talk, "Psychedelic science."
Taking it a step further, Fabian added regular old watercolors to the magic magnetic gloop, and showed how, like oil, water and ferrofluid do not mix. "It doesn’t mix with the water," he says in his talk, "and at the same time, it tries to maintain its position above the magnet, and therefore, it creates those amazing-looking structures of channels and tiny little ponds of colorful water paint."
Amazing, indeed. A+, science.