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What would happen if everything in the Earth suddenly gained the magnetism of a standard fridge magnet? (Ignoring the fact that this would change atomic structures.) Things that were already magnetic maintain normal magnetism in this scenario. Things that are diamagnetic retain diamagneticism.

This probably ends badly. I don't know.

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    $\begingroup$ I am pretty sure it would just "instantly" collapse into a black hole. Electromagnetism is uhm... 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times stronger than gravity. So chances are, the instance this switch was made, every object held together under gravity would collapse into a black hole. $\endgroup$
    – ErikHall
    Commented Jan 21 at 1:36
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    $\begingroup$ @ErikHall maybe I should limit it to Earth... $\endgroup$
    – Zautech
    Commented Jan 21 at 1:53
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it's an off-topic high concept question, meaning it's too broad, open-ended, opinion-based, and all answers would be equally valid (all of which are prohibited in the help center). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Jan 21 at 2:32
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH I don't see how it is a high concept question or an opinion based one, but it may be too open ended. I will edit it to add background and define the problem further. $\endgroup$
    – Zautech
    Commented Jan 21 at 3:05
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH it's only opinion-based insofar as "everything" getting the same magnetism "as a fridge magnet" is a bit vague in terms of exact strength. All it means is that the quantitative timeframes are unclear for every life form to die (somewhere between nanoseconds and milliseconds?) and for the entire planetary mass to form a single, molten, uniformly magnetically aligned body (days?). The qualitative outcome is pretty straightforward. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 21 at 3:46

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Answer to original question: I like to think that I have decent physics knowledge. With that in mind, I have no idea how to even try and model such a universe on any level. I would find it very hard to justify the existence of complex matter, let alone complex life. Atoms would be really, really weird, and I doubt anything interesting would happen past the first four hundred million years of the Universe's existence.

If you just flipped the magnetism switch from "some" to "all", pretty quickly the mass-energy of the unbelievably-enormous electromagnetic field produced by every atom in the universe combined would tear spacetime apart and collapse everything into black holes and/or cause the Big Rip.

Please don't do that.

Answer to updated question: Well, it would be interesting. I think most biological life would die off pretty quickly, given that their blood would start not flowing in the direction it's supposed to due to the magnetic field. Beyond that, it might be really cool: big stone islands floating in the sky due to magnetic repulsion between the island's stone and the ground? Sounds interesting.

But everyone would be way too dead to witness it, so...

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  • $\begingroup$ I'll try, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Zautech
    Commented Jan 21 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ I changed it to just Earth. I think your answer still applies, just limited to Earth. (Earth's core creates a magnetic field, so perhaps it is unaffected) $\endgroup$
    – Zautech
    Commented Jan 21 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ It might not destroy the universe but it would still kill everyone, I think. See updated answer! :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 21 at 2:03

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