Good books and videos on magnets

What are some good books and videos on magnets?

I have always found books to be extremely helpful. They often provide the additional information needed for a project that can't be found elsewhere. They also give me something to do when I'm waiting for someone or in a waiting room (why read old magazines when I could read a cool book instead?). Here are some of the better books I know about on the subject of magnets and things you can do with them. Most of the books I've checked out of a library or in book stores have been very good. Listed here are books I've looked at. I own several of them, but not all. The ones I have found most fascinating are listed first. Included are links to if you'd like to purchase one. The costs for most of the books are very reasonable ($6 to $12). A few are a bit expensive ($149!). If you are going to make some demonstrations or science projects, I would recommend that you check the library on books about magnets or purchase a new or used book on magnets!  There are also great videos that show things that are difficult to visualize or visit.



The History Channel store has several videos that talk about magnets, motors, and similar topics.  Each one costs about $25.  For example, under the Modern Marvels section:
Magnets (DVD) - all about magnets, how they are made, and their uses
Power Plants (DVD) - how generators work
Engines (DVD) - how motors and engines power machinery
Walt Disney World (DVD) - behind the scenes showing how technology and magnetism make it happen

From Arbor Scientific, I obtained this video showing Paul Hewitt teaching a class about motors, generators, magnets and things.  Good for high school students.  Costs about $24.
Paul Hewitt teaches Magnetism (VCR or DVD)

NOVA: Magnetic Storm DVDNOVA: Magnetic Storm (DVD)                 

This takes you to the PBS online store where they have several items of interest, including NOVA: Magnetic Storm, on VHS and DVD, about solar flares and Earth's magnetic field.

Another video that is available on Netflix is NOVA: Secrets of the Sun, with more details on the magnetic environment within and surrounding the sun.


With this, you can do some searching for particular books of interest at

In Association with

(Type in keywords like: magnets, magnetism, electromagnet, experiments with magnets, magnet experiments, etc, or the title or author of one of the books listed below.)

Books below are listed as:
    Location and Date

Driving Force, The Natural Magic of Magnets  
James D. Livingston
Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Mass 1996
 This book is one of the best books in print today about magnets, levitating trains, etc.  If you are serious about  learning what magnets are really like, I highly recommend this.



Rising Force, The Magic of Magnetic Levitation  
James D. Livingston
Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Mass 2011
 This second book by James Livingston focuses on how magnetic fields are used to levitate objects from trains to tops to frogs.  A great addition to your library.



Magnetic Magic 
Paul Doherty and John Cassidy
Alto, CA  1994
 Here is one of the Klutz series of books.  This is a great one on magnets.   They have a lot of great experiments you can do with the magnets they provide with the book.  A super buy for someone who wants to play around with magnets and discover for himself / herself how magnets behave.


Mondo Magnets 
Fred Jeffers
 Chicago Review Press
 Chicago, IL  2007
 Here is a super book that describes 40 different demonstrations and experiments that you can do with magnets.  He has a lot of unique ways of playing with magnets.  He also clearly describes the science behind the experiments, why it works the way it does.  This is well worth it and I highly recommend it!  Available through Independent Publishers Group.  There is the companion DVD that shows several very interesting experiments performed and explained!  A super buy!


Introduction to Magnetism and Magnetic Materials 
David Jiles
CRC Press

This covers just about everything you want to know on this topic.  Well written, well illustrated! 

Electric Motors and Drives 
Austin Hughes
Elsevier Press

A great book on how motors work and how adjustable speed drives work

Electric Motors and their Controls, an Introduction 
Tak Kenjo
Oxford University Press

This  covers the more unique types of motors that are used in appliances, computers peripherals, cars, etc.


Magnet Science
Glen Vecchione
Sterling Publishing Co.
New York  1996

A very good book to start learning about magnets.  More in depth than the Magnetic Magic, not as deep as Driving Force. I highly recommend it!

The Magnet Book
Shar Levine, Leslie Johnstone
Sterling Publications

I've looked this over. It is a good review of magnetism along with several basic experiments.

The Magnetic Wand Discovery Guide
Brown, Riddle, Bonnell
Master Magnetics, Inc.
Castle Rock, CO  1998

I got this from Educational Innovations M-580.  A great book for activities with the wand magnets.

Moo Magnet Cow Magnet Activity Kit
Master Magnetics, Inc.
Castle Rock, CO  1995

This was also from Educational Innovations M-450, and was part of a kit with the cow magnet you can disassemble.  A very well done kit.  Also highly recommended.

Permanent Magnet Design and Application Handbook
Lester Moskowitz
Cahners Books International
Boston, MASS 1976

This book is a classic.  It has everything you may want to know about permanent magnets.  It includes manufacturing, design, measurement, etc.  A friend of mine loaned me his copy. 

A similar book by Peter Campbell.

Magnetic Actuators and Sensors
John Brauer
Wiley Books
If you are an IEEE member, you can get 15% off using the promo code 3-8011
If you are a AAA member, you can get a 5% discount from Barnes & Nobel

Engineer's Mini-Notebook:  Magnet and Magnet Sensor Projects
Forrest Mims III
Radio Shack part number 62-5020
USA  1998

Radio Shack finally printed a great booklet, similar to others in their Engineer's Mini-Notebook series, about magnet projects.  It includes a lot of different types of sensors for magnetic fields.  He does a great job in providing schematics and details for those starting to build electronic projects.
Here's another good book by Mims from

Hall Effect Sensors: Theory and Application
Ed Ramsden

I have not read this book, but it appears to be geared to several ways to use Hall Effect devices in various types of circuits.  Should be useful in designing Gauss meters and field sensors.

Science Projects About Electricity and Magnetism
Robert Gardner
Enslow Publishers, Inc
Springfield, NJ 1994

Science Experiments
Robert Gardner
Franklin Watts
NY 1988

More Ideas for Science Projects
Robert Gardner
Franklin Watts
NY 1989

Robert Gardner has a lot of good books on science and experiments of all types.  Check him out here.

Experimenting with Electricity and Magnetism
Ovid K. Wong
Franklin Watts
NY 1993

Janice Van Cleave

A very popular book, great ideas for science fairs.

200 Illustrated Science Experiments for Children
Robert J. Brown
Tab Books
Blue Ridge Summit, PA 1987

Electricity and Magnets
Terry Cash
Warwick Press
NY 1989

Experiments with Magnets
Helen Challand
Children's Press
Chicago 1986

Experimenting with Magnetism
Alan Ward
Chelsea House
NY 1991

Exploring Magnets
Ed Catherall
Austin, TX 1990

Paul W. Zitzewitz
Columbus, OH 1992

High school physics text book

700 Science Experiments for Everyone    (newer versions of this are available)
Gerald Wendt / UNESCO
LCCCN 58-11919
USA 1958

David Halliday and Robert Resnick
LCCCN 66-11527
John Wiley & Sons, Inc
NY 1967

My old college physics text book

Fundamentals of Physics
David Halliday, Robert Resnick, Jearl Walker
ISBN 0-471-32000-5
John Wiley & Sons, Inc
NY 2001

Updated college physics text book, an excellent source!

Science Wizardry for Kids
Margaret Kenda and Phyllis Williams
Hong Kong 1992

Advances in Permanent Magnetism
Rollin J. Parker
John Wiley & Sons, Inc

Good information on various permanent magnets and their uses.

Propulsion without Wheels
E. R. Laithwaite
Hart Publishing Company
New York, NY  1968

Describes many experiments in magnetic levitation, linear motors, etc. A very valuable book.

Gordon McComb's Gadgeteer's Goldmine!  55 Space-age Projects
Gordon McComb
TAB Books Division of McGraw-Hill Books
New York, NY  1990

A super book describing several cool types of projects like Jacob Ladders, Tesla Coils, lasers, superconductivity, etc.

Power Electronics and Variable Frequency Drives
Bimal Bose
IEEE Press
Piscataway, NJ  1997

A thorough review of various types of AC motors and variable speed drives, especially for the professional or the advanced  college student.

Electric Motors and Control Techniques
Irving Gottlieb

Another good book on motors and drives.


Additional books I have not seen, but have found referenced by others:
Bleaney, B. I., Electricity and Magnetism, 3d ed. (1989)
Duffin, W. J., Electricity and Magnetism, 4th ed. (1990)
Chen, Chi-Wen, Magnetism and Metallurgy of Soft Magnetic Materials (1986)
Davis, A. R., and Rawls, W. C., Jr., Magnetism and Its Effects on the Living System, 4th ed. (1988)
Hargraves, R. B., ed., The Physics of Magnetic Processes (1980)
Ishikawa, U., and Miura, N., eds., Physics and Engineering Applications of Magnets (1991)
Jakubovics, J. P., Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (1987)
Jiles, David, Introduction to Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (1991)
Kaganov, M. T., and Tsukernik, V. M., The Nature of Magnetism (1985)
Lee, E. W., Magnetism: An Introductory Survey (1970; repr. 1984)
Mattis, D. C., The Theory of Magnetism II (1985)

Besides checking the bookstores or libraries, you may want to try to obtain some of the above books through an inter-library loan program your public library may have.   This way, some of the more advanced texts would be available to you from a nearby engineering school.  I've checked out some great books this way, especially those that are on physics demonstrations.  They have a lot of great material on magnets.   For example, you may want to request the following:

A Demonstration Handbook for Physics
G.D. Freier and F.J. Anderson
American Association of Physics Teachers
Stony Brook, NY  1981

Physics Demonstration Experiments  Vol 2 (Heat, E&M, Optics, Atomic and Nuclear Physics)
Harry F. Meiners
The Ronald Press Company, NY

Demonstration Experiments in Physics
Richard M. Sutton
American Association of Physics Teachers
McGraw-Hill Book Company, NY

Physics Demonstrations, A Sourcebook for Teachers of Physics
Julien C. Sprott