In this season of Upgrade, we head out to Fermilab, the nation's premier particle physics laboratory, to talk to Arden Warner. Warner, whose day job as a physicist consists of colliding high speed particles together, thought of a unique way to clean up oil spills using magnets.
Warner said he figured there had to be a way to organically magnetize spilled oil, which could then be magnetically vacuumed up. He showed us how to do this by adding magnetite, a naturally occurring metal, which allows spill oil to more easily be manipulated and captured than by other methods. We also take a look at how he has implemented these simple principles into an electromagnetic boom that could be used to change the future of oil spill recovery.