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whats up Since the flight path of Oceanic flight 815 would always pass relatively close to the island, I wonder if the power of the field affects the plane's instruments, diverting it toward the island and then when it is closer, possibly causing other system failures that end up causing a crash. Maybe this only happens when someone fails to press the button in time. That could account for the gaps between crashes and "new people" showing up on the island. --unsigned by Stew Erickson--

Do we really need this article? -- LOSTonthisdarnisland 21:25, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

It's been mentioned on LOST, and it seems anything that has been will be dissected. I think it's great that LP is open to all sorts of stubby articles when you just know they would be speedily deleted on Wikipedia. Joffeloff 21:52, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

I agree this article should stay as a nice stub nickb123

What Joffeloff said. --Jambalaya 10:02, 2 June 2006 (PDT)

I've had a little play around with the page and I think it now looks more presentable. Hopefully you'll now agree that that it should stay! --Nickb123 07:17, 3 June 2006 (PDT)


Because magnetism plays such a pivotal role in the show, I will beef this page up with more information over the next few days. This page needs to be updated to reflect revealed info from the show as well. I will probably add a section to The Discharge page with a more critical scientific analysis in addition. --Scottkj 14:56, 20 July 2006 (PDT)

I'm working on it at the moment as well. --Peephole 14:58, 20 July 2006 (PDT)

Excellent. I am writing up various events that are related to magnetism and scientific deductions about field strength. I'll try to evaluate some the comments (Kelvin, etc) about the subject. I'll mostly be adding stuff to the Electromagnetism on the Island section. If I get enough material I'll probably add a section about magnetism in the Swan specifically. --Scottkj 20:42, 20 July 2006 (PDT)

Just want to say that based on A Tale of Two Cities, we now know that the plane was clearly NOT flying at 30,000 ft. It looked closer to 3,000, maybe even less. My spacial relations aren't that great, but I can see that it was much lower than 30,000 ft. The point is, the energy required to bring down a plane wouldn't need to be as strong if the plane is closer to the island. --MJuice 17:52, 5 October 2006 (PDT)

"Science" on LOST vs. Reality

Note that magnetic fields could not "build up" over time in reality without a physical change as well. Thus it is difficult to describe what is depicted on the show in scientific terms. I consider the "build up" to be a gradual strengthening of the magnetic field, and pushing the button resets this to some minima.

There is also some confusion regarding the "discharge" of magnetism, vis-a-vis the simple presence of a very strong magnetic field (which looks like a sudden release of energy). Without a better mechanistic understanding of what causes the magnetism (its unlikely this will ever be revealed coherently), I would like to broadly consider the discharge and Desmond's System Failure cases where the field strength grew to very large intensities and then returned to "normal," and not the released of "stored-up magnetism."

Lastly, we have no clear indications of the field status after the discharge, so speculations regarding the current effects should go in the theories section until we get more information. --Scottkj 18:08, 5 October 2006 (PDT)

  • Scientists at Duke University recently developed a "cloaking device" that was able to cause a small object to become partially invisible using properties of electromagnetism. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Brother (talkcontribs).

Episode request

Suggestion: When possible, list the (wikified) episode from which events or screencaps are taken. For example, I know the compass that Sayid shows Jack is from S1, but I don't remember which episode. Also it's obvious to us now, but it's worth citing s3e3 as the first view of the imploded Swan. Et cetera. Anyhow, VERY nice article!-- Contrib¯ _Santa_ ¯  Talk 00:48, 20 October 2006 (PDT)

Not sure the science is warranted

It's pretty clear that many of the things we see in LOST that are attributed to electromagnetism are very much unlike anything we might ever see in Nature. I'm not sure, therefore, that there's much point in trying to analyse these events using real-life present-day physics; I don't think the scriptwriters have given it a moment's thought, and I think it's clear we're going to see some quasiscience [1] which references electromagnetic science and accounts for some of the things we see on the island.

[1] "Quasiscience" is the legitimate process of making up new science in order to write science fiction. Hyperspace and the Voight-Kampf test are quasiscientific. It's nothing to do with pseudoscience.

TortureMeSayid 05:16, 5 November 2006 (PST)

Yeah, it's mostly a futile effort to explain things purely rationally. But without a limited deference to science, it is difficult to make any causal connections between events. So this is mostly for fun. --Scottkj 16:43, 5 November 2006 (PST)

Magnetic Monopole

I didn't see it discussed, but could the unique magnetic properties of the island be the existance of Magnetic Monopoles in the geology? My physics is rusty, but that aside this is what I remember.

  • A Monopole would have a net magenetic charge.
  • Maxwell's equations change
  • I (think) the field effect is related to 1/r^2 rather than 1/r^3

A monopole would kind of be consistant with the talk of charge building up. The leak they are talking about could be leaks into the monopole source that build the charge.

There is also lots of pseudophysics that might explain the implosion or how time travel could come to be associated with it.

Things left unexplained would be:

1) The earth tremor that struck at least part of the island right about the time the plane came down. In the subsequent system failure, there was no island tremor at least from the beach near the swan up as far as Pala ferry.

2) The magnetic field necessary to pull the plane apart should have had dramatic local effects on the island. The field is either directional or for unexplained reasons has an area of relatively low magnetism close in. The fields on display inside the swan, strong as they are, don't seem strong like they would be if the field was big enough to rip apart an airliner.

Dharmatel4 10:26, 6 March 2007 (PST)

I suppose an explanation could be made by way of monopoles, but those are mostly theorized on a quantum scale, and never to my knowledge mentioned in the context of geologic phenomena. For a field of the magnitude seen on the island, I think most of accepted physics would be out the door if we assume monopole characteristics. You could try working it up as a theory if you really thought it could work out.
The implosion is difficult to explain. My quantum electrodynamics is a little poor, so I didn't go into any detail. The time travel is nearly impossible to explain without producing an entirely hilarious theory.
I agree that the details of the system failures seem inconsistent at best, I just chalk this up to poor attention to continuity and probably a not-so-robust physics education on the part of the writers. --Scottkj 23:09, 6 March 2007 (PST)

i couldnt help comment on this because, well, if monopoles existed my moniker would have to change to divBisNot0 (lol). anyways, the monopole would explain the "charge" buildup. the math for the variation would be exactly similar to electric charge, ie, 1/r^2 (for a point charge at large r). i have no idea about implosions.... i think its artistic license more than physics. Divbis0 18:58, 15 February 2008 (PST)

Avionics failure

I read the section about magnetism causing an Avionics failure that could be responsible for the crash. For the crash as shown, this seems unlikely. I can think of lots of reasons an Avionics failure would crash a plane but I can't think of what in the Avionics could fail that would cause the tail to snap off in the air. Even the worst possible configuration of the control surfaces would seem unlikely to cause that to happen. The front section of the plane detaching is even more difficult to explain. Dharmatel4 11:00, 6 March 2007 (PST)

There is no good explanation for a magnetism-induced crash. The Mid-air breakup page has some nice considerations, though. --Scottkj 23:09, 6 March 2007 (PST)

Controlling the anomoly

This quote in the article:

Kelvin Inman remarked in "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1" that a "charge" progressively “builds up” in or near the Swan with an accompanying magnetic field. The mechanism installed in the Swan allowed for periodic "discharge" of these "amassed" energies. As well as "the button", a fail-safe mechanism was installed. The Swan station thus seemed to have some degree of control over the electromagnetic field.

Reminded me of the "Secrets of the Hatch" feature in the Season 2 DVDs. While giving a tour of the set, they pointed out the control panel in the corridor with all of the various gagues and buttons, and indicated, (this is an extreme paraphrase) - "this controls the magnetic anomoly behind the sealed-up door. Or at least, it used to, but like just about everything else, it's fallen into disrepair over the past twenty-some years. Only the computer and the button still work."

I think it might be good to reference that in the article, but I'm not sure how "canon" that special feature was (some facts were incorrect, after all), and I can't really do it without being too wordy. And I'm not sure if it should really be mentioned at all, since that control panel is only seen in the background in the show, and nobody ever fiddled with it directly. Though, interestingly, it was completely destroyed in the S2 finale - we see the remains of it behind Eko when he walked into the dome to confront John during the system failure event.

Anyway, just wondering what you guys thought about this little bit of info. --Shodan1138 18:06, 27 March 2007 (PDT)

Interesting point. I remember the bit in the extra but hadn't thought of it in this context. It's hard to decide how meaningful it is though; a magnet as strong as that seen on the show couldn't be man-made or even really controllable. Actually, only stellar bodies could produce a field that intense, so barring a "Spiderman 2" type situation with a mini-sun (which, I'd like to add, is utterly physically impossible, to the point of hilarity) or maybe a blackhole with a "dimmer switch," there isn't much of a way to rationalize a control panel. I'm hoping that the Losties will explore the crater and find something interesting in this or some future season to help bring the whole Hatch magnetism thing together. --Scottkj 21:03, 27 March 2007 (PDT)

There is no way through normal physics that its ever going to make sense. I think its necessary to assume the existance of magnetic charge for the Swan to make any sense at all. The other necessary thing to get to something that makes sense is to drop the idea that the breakup of the plane was caused by magnetism. Attributing the crash to Hugo's bad luck is more reasonably than anything concerning magnetism. The earth tremors could be explained by some sort of interaction with the geology of the island. Dharmatel4 22:56, 27 March 2007 (PDT)
Bad luck is more reasonable than the magnetism from the Swan? C'mon. :) Remember that we were shown explicitly in the S2 finale that the system failure did indeed cause the crash. I mean, we're not given any reason to think otherwise. People like to talk about (and analyze in great detail) just how ferrous a particular aircraft's hull is - but they're assuming a completely empty cargo hold. Basically, while the plane's chassis may not be particularly susceptable to magnetic force, the contents of the cargo hold are. Freight containers are basically just big steel boxes. And, besides.... as awesome as Lost is, it's still a fictional show, with fictional physics. You've gotta suspend your disbelief a little, ya know? :) --Shodan1138 00:04, 28 March 2007 (PDT)
Actually, earlier on a now-deleted talk page me and another user proved beyond the shadow of the doubt that it was actually one lone butterfly that caused the crash of the plane. That article was deleted in fear of the truth getting out.  ;) Just kidding. Yes the cargo would be full of magnetically subseptible (spelling?) items.   Hooper   talk    contribs    email   00:07, 28 March 2007 (PDT)
The first problem I have with pulling the aircraft out of the air is what the field strength on the ground and inside the swan would end up being. The field strength has to get larger the closer it is to the source and I think the field strength would be so large on the ground that everything would be dead. The second problem is that its difficult to see how any amount of magnetism could cause an aircraft to break into three pieces. We are not shown that the Swan caused the crash at the end of S2. Desmond shows that the system failure happened at the same time. Dharmatel4 09:21, 28 March 2007 (PDT)
Valid points, but lets not forget that even though they try to make things as believable as possible, they won't always be. Sometime its just movie (well, in this case, television) magic to advance the story.   Hooper   talk    contribs    email   10:49, 28 March 2007 (PDT)

Precedent: Page content

As stated in the article, it is impossible to make a definitive connection between electromagnetism and observed phenomenon on LOST without some indication within the show itself (i.e., Sayid holding a magnetometer throughout the show). Because of this, much of the content of this page is inherently speculative.

I suggest that this page therefore contain documentation of events which can be reasonably attributed to electromagnetic effects, based upon the exposition of the show itself. When in doubt, subjects of interest can be ascertained by representative straw poll.

Discussion of the reasonability of each of these events can also be considered by a scientific analysis. This provides another stage to "check" the probability that a given event on the show is connected to electromagnetism. This is an analytical and reflective process. Furthermore, I propose that the following scientific bounds are set:

  • If relativistic effects are important, analyses are to be made with deference to modern statements of relativity, such as GTR.
  • If a quantum mechanical consideration is required, analyses should be made with respect to the Standard Model.

This conforms to the precedent in modern, non-theoretical physics literature.

Please discuss. --Scottkj 09:36, 28 March 2007 (PDT)

To be blunt, what your asking for is that the article should be open to some theories but not other theories. I don't agree with this at all because its an arbirary standard. The article either allows theories or it does not. Further, if you going to allow theory, you have to accept in a broader range of modern physics than the Standard Model. I dont understand the reasoning that says that discussions about the invisibility of the Island was "ok" but that any physics concepts beyond the standard textbook are not allowed.
The following I consider examples unacceptable theories:
    • the "Monster" is a cloud of ferromagnetic particles
    • tidal anomalies being attributed to magnetic effects.
    • healing being associated with electromagnetism.
    • Invisibility of the island.
    • Speculation about Faraday cages

Dharmatel4 10:41, 28 March 2007 (PDT)

I agree that they are a bit of a stretch (except for the Faraday cage; I could buy that). I'm not advocating those theories in any way; this page contained a response to them. For instance, it indicates that the invisibility of the Island cannot, inherently, be caused by magnetism. These responses were naturalistic and not theories so much as an application of electrodynamics, which is what this page is about. I am suggesting a straw poll to determine which "theories" should be responded to in this article, if any. I do not support explanations or analyses by physics outside of what is accepted by the corpus of scientific literature. If this is a point of contention, I also suggest a straw poll to ascertain what can be considered "science" by the community here. Thanks for responding. --Scottkj 11:57, 28 March 2007 (PDT)
I can accept most of that. But I dont agree that the Standard Model constitutes the corpus of scientific literature. There are all sorts of problems and ambiguities in the standard model. I understand the need for a standard, but I would rather have a standard that accepts a wider range of material from reputable sources. I certainly don't want any pseudo-science. Dharmatel4 16:02, 28 March 2007 (PDT)

The Standard Model definitely has inconsistencies, but none of the TOEs or superstring theories have really been worked out to the same level of parsimony or predictive ability. The literature pretty much sticks to the SM, except for relativistic considerations, of coruse. I should point out that monopole magnetism is not entirely at odds with SM; my biggest objection is that quantum monopoles have not be observed to date, nor are they the most parsimonious explanation of events seen on the show. If an explanation were to be made using Higgs bosons I would potentially be equally tenous. Understand I am just working to preserve the status quo of this article, and would like any significant changes to reflect wiki consensus. --Scottkj 18:37, 28 March 2007 (PDT)

Actually, upon some reflection I drop my objections to TOEs or superstring theories. If there are no objections, I revised the article back to prior the status quo and added some new sections for said material. --Scottkj 22:43, 29 March 2007 (PDT)

air crash changes

I've added disclaimers with regard to the theories about electromagnetism and the crash of the aircraft. In the case of structural failure, the field strength on the ground near the swan would be considerably stronger than the force required to tear the aircraft apart. But there is no evidence that those effects happened.

In terms of avionics, an avionics failure could cause a crash, but it could not cause the structural failure of the aircraft. If anyone disagrees with the disclaimers, just go ahead and remove them. Dharmatel4 15:54, 3 April 2007 (PDT)


"It is suggested on the 30th April 2007 podcast that the Black Rock, drug smuggler's plane and helicopter all crashed or ended up on the island due to electromagnetism. One could assume that the same applies to the Elizabeth and Rousseau's party."

I don't think thats what they said. They almost said the opposite of that conclusion. If this is going to be kept in the article, I think it needs to be backed up by actual quotes from the podcast. Dharmatel4 19:35, 30 April 2007 (PDT)

I agree. I don't listen to the podcasts, but I assumed that plktrn would be telling the truth. Do you wanna bump it out of the article for now? --Scottkj 23:59, 30 April 2007 (PDT)
I think he misunderstood what was said. I'm going to bump it out for now. For reference, this is a summary of the question and what they said:

With the hatch gone, and the helicopter suffering the same fate as Flight 815, did something/someone other than Desmond cause the original crash? The button is not the only method, but an actual jumbo jet might require something other than the average electro magnetic pulse to bring you down and rip you in half. A smaller vessel such as the Black Rock or a Helicopter wouldn't need the extra kick. Planes fly over the island all the time without crashing, unless its outside the space-time continnuum.

I dont think there needs to be anything added based on this because there already are issues with magnetism and field strength to cause the mid-air breakup. The other examples don't say that the black rock, research ship or helicopter were brought down by electromagnetism, only that its more plausable. Dharmatel4 07:33, 1 May 2007 (PDT)
Yeah, I agree with you. It seemed a bit funky having it in there. Cheers, --Scottkj 17:43, 1 May 2007 (PDT)


Hey ya'll. I'm currently working on the rewrite of this page here, not the talk page but the actual article. This is a big project and will probably take a few hours on my part but hold on tight I will be finished before the day is over. By the way I am on the west coast of the US so it will probably be after 10pm pst and its 240pm pst right now as I type this. Thank you and goodnight.--Deuce Dubbington XVII 22:39, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

  • as of 6/12/09, this article is still a little confusing and isn't updated, so I'm going to rewrite and update this article to make it straightforward. Namaste.--Linus2342|talk|contributions 13:19, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Widmore's Experiments

Would it be worth putting in a section on Widmore's experiment on Desmond on the Hyrda Island. This also appeared to use former Dharma equipment so not sure if that ties into the Dharma section. Or at least it seemed like Dharma equipment given Seamus' comments that the generator hadn't run twenty years.


Maxwell essentially turned Newton's physics and electromagnetism (Faraday's work) into "classical" physics: the TOE of the 1800's. He prepared the world for Einstein and destroyed Kant's philosophical system (one of the four pillars) which was based on Newtonian concepts. Kant contended that physics was a finished system. Far from it: Clerk began an attack that Godel and Einstein Einstein goes so far as to declare his gratitude to kant's great nemesis Hume and derides Kant. (Famous appendix 5 of Relativity [Crown, 1960].19:07, October 6, 2010 (UTC)Past recaptured

Exotic Matter

I was wondering should we make a note on the exotic matter, due to it being related to the source of electromagnetism etc. should we add this somewhere? what does everyone think about this?--Swan-Operator:Radzinsky 09:37, October 25, 2010 (UTC)

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