The Not-Quite-So-Simple Operation of ‘The World’s Simplest Motor’

A simple motor, which I discovered on YouTube, can be constructed in a few minutes with an AA battery, a small, but strong, cylindrical rare-earth magnet, and a short (~16 cm) length of narrow-gauge copper wire. Shaped appropriately, the wire will rotate spontaneously about the battery. I discuss quantitatively the salient electromechanical principles underlying how this motor works and address a number of fundamental, but subtle, conceptual issues that this device raises.

Read the paper (PDF, 1 MB)