Magnets generate a field that interacts with magnetic materials and other magnets. They can exert either an attractive or repulsive force on them. Magnets are made of magnetic materials like iron, cobalt, nickel, and their alloys. We call these materials ferromagnetic, from ferro which means iron.

While magnetic materials interact with magnets, they are not usually magnets themselves. To become magnets they must undergo a magnetization process.

Magnets always have a north and south pole. This is similar to how positive and negative electric charges work, with a key difference - electric charges can exist on their own as solitary electrons or protons (monopoles) but magnets must exist as a pair of poles dipoles). A magnet's north and south poles cannot exist separately.