1 October 2015

What's on your fridge?

Our fridges are plastered with our life stories. Tell us what your icebox says about you.

The fridge of MagLab scientist Yan Xin reflects her family's far-flung travels.


For the next month at the MagLab, we are celebrating refrigerators. And we need your help.

A fridge is cool (no pun intended) because it gives you place to park all your magnets. And even though those permanent magnets are very different from our world-record electromagnets (read our article Magnets from Mini to Mighty to learn the difference), we still love 'em.

Those little magnets do a big job: affixing family photos, kids’ artwork and appointment reminders to the icebox door. In fact, a person’s fridge is often the most interesting item in their house, telling the story of what’s happening in their lives, where they’ve traveled, what they’re into, whom they love. It’s so cool we’ve coined a term for it: Autobiografridge!


  • Upload your fridge pic to your Flickr account, join our Autobiografridge group page and add your photo there.
  • And/or share your fridge pic on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with us @NationalMagLab and use the #Autobiografridge.

Take a look below at some of the "fridge stories" MagLab staffers have shared, then snap a pic of your own fridge and share it (see box), along with a brief description about what it says about you.

Is your fridge a stainless steel, magnet-free zone? No problem. Send us a pic of a magnetic message board instead.

What prompts this homage to the fridge? It's our birthday gift to John Gorrie, the “father of air conditioning and mechanical refrigeration.” Born Oct. 3, 1803, Gorrie lived most of his life in Apalachicola, Florida, where he invented a machine that made ice and received the first U.S. patent for mechanical refrigeration in 1851. A 1.5-hour drive from the MagLab's Tallahassee headquarters, Apalachicola is now home to the John Gorrie Museum State Park.

When it comes to refrigeration, the MagLab would make Gorrie proud. We use fancy iceboxes called dilution refrigerators and make really things cold here - just a fraction of a degree above absolute zero — with cryogens like liquid helium and liquid nitrogen to do low-temperature physics. We also have a group devoted to cryogenic research. For a primer on the topic, read Cryogenics for English Majors.

MagLab fridge gallery

View this photo set on Flickr