The cutting edge of physics can seem more like fiction than reality, as scientists argue over whether information is a form of matter and if you can find dark matter at the bottom of a lake. Yet, even the established laws of physics can pull out some surprises, which is where the Skill Flux stands out. Typically $99, the Skill Flux Scientific Desk Toy + Magnet Shield Bundle is on sale for only $80.95.

The Skill Flux seems like a typical tube and ball. Drop the ball in the tube and it’ll fall through, right? Except instead the ball seems to fight gravity, only slowly dropping out the bottom. See for yourself:

How does the Skill Flux pull this off? It uses Lenz’s Law. Discovered in 1834 by Emil Lenz, the law states that when you induce a current in a conductor using a magnetic field, that current will generate a magnetic field that opposes changes in the initial field. In other words, the more you push a magnet towards a conductor, generating a current through that conductor, the harder the conductor will push back against the magnet.

With the Skill Flux, the secret is that the ball is a strong neodymium magnet and the tube is the conductor, in this case aluminum. So while gravity will eventually win out against magnetism, the fields will still push against each other, slowing the ball. Capturing the allure of the toy, The Economist wrote, “Watching this defiance of the laws of nature is undeniably mesmeric.”

This means you can play catch with two tubes, perform tricks and stunts, get multiple tubes and stack them, and get some inspiration from physics when you’re stuck. The leather wrap and magnet shield make it an elegant addition to any desk, while protecting sensitive gear by encasing the ball in wood with an iron outer shell.

Usually, displaying the magic of physics on your desk would cost $99, but right now, you can save 19% on the Skill Flux and get one for $80.95.

Prices subject to change.

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with an affiliate partner. We may collect a small commission on items purchased through this page. This post does not necessarily reflect the views or the endorsement of the editorial staff.

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