Quite a stir: Science and serendipity behind the new liquid magnet

Liquid magnet, scientists, iron, ferro liquid
Reconfigurable ferromagnetic liquid droplets unearthed by scientists represent a milestone for further development of magnetic materials.

There are potent chemotherapy drugs today, but they kill normal cells while eliminating the cancer cells. The side effects are huge. Some years into the future, when the patient is on the treatment bed, the doctors will inject chemotherapy drugs to kill the cancer cells. But the drug is encapsulated inside nano-magnetic droplets. Using a magnetic wand, the oncologist will drag the magnetised droplets laced with the drugs to the cancer tissue through the bloodstream. Cancer cells are then targeted with no harm to the normal cells.

Does this all sound unimaginable? The 'sci-fi' treatment can one day become possible, thanks to a radical discovery — liquid magnets.

As the story goes, a simple magnet gifted by an uncle enthralled Einstein as a kid and turned him away from his earlier fascination from religion towards science. Indeed, as a child, we too were mystified by the power of magnets to reach out and grab pins and metal clips. A bar or horseshoe magnets, either salvaged from scrap or from the school physics laboratory, are familiar to us.

Those of us who had enthusiastic school teachers may have seen exotic magnets such as ring, cylindrical or even ball-shaped magnets.

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