SCIENCE AND EDUCATION


Can wearing magnets really repel sharks?

Baku, August 19, AZERTAC

Through various concoctions and customs, humans have found ways to keep mosquitoes from biting, deer from destroying gardens and even bears from tearing campsites into pieces. Various companies have tried out specialized sunscreens, chemical sprays, visual tricks and disguises, with little documented success. Then, in 2005, scientists accidently discovered something far simpler -- something that sent sharks swimming away from it like people running from a burning building.

During experiments at the Bimini Biological Research Station in the Bahamas, researchers Eric Stroud and Michael Hermann, with the company SharkDefense, dropped a small magnet in the water beside a shark. The presence of the magnet elicited a distinct reaction from the fish -- they darted away from it. To determine the strength of this repugnant force, Stroud and Herrmann held sharks on their backs, inducing a condition called tonic immobility, or a temporary paralysis that naturally occurs when the fish lay in that position.

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