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Question
Can you think of a colored oil substance with magnetic properties? I'm trying to think of a colored oil one could put in water to form oil droplets of different colors and different buoyancy that can level out but be reset by being pulled to the bottom with a magnet.

Answer
Ferrofluid could, I suppose, be dyed.  It would be tough, though, given that the nanoparticles are only 5nm, and visible light is two orders of magnitude longer...but definitely possible if you dye the grease surrounding the nickel-iron alloy particles.  You can even make it yourself, there are instructions on youtube for making it.  There's "colored ferrofluid," too, but I haven't seen anything aside from paint on normal store-bought ferrofluid.  During the manufacture, you need to put oil-based paint into the manufacture process somewhere.  There are tons of instructions, have fun watching hours of video after you search for "making ferrofluid" on youtube.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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