Faraday’s law of induction is a topic that students may remember from high school, but it’s rare to see an impressive application of the theory. The science video blog Veritasium travelled to the Palais de la découverte in Paris to see a demonstration of the principle first hand. Normally induction occurs when an alternating current flowing through a coil of wire is passed to another coil in close proximity, causing the coil's magnetic fields to repel each other. This experiment removes one coil and instead replaces it with a large 1kg aluminum plate.
An alternating 800A current is passed through a single metal coil 900 times a second, creating an opposing magnetic field in the plate which results in its levitation. The current is strong enough to light any bulbs that come close enough to the plate, while excess energy is dissipated as heat. As the curator of the demonstration says, "it’s like a flying barbecue." Take a peek at the video below to see the experiment in action.