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Interesting demonstration. My gut reaction to explain this is:attraction and repulsion fall off as 1/r2imagine a 1 dimensional system where r is the only variable. A magnet of strength 20 is placed at r=0, and a magnet of strength 3 is placed at r=2 (all arbitrary units). Another magnet that is attracted to the larger magnet, and repelled by the smaller approaches from r=∞. The attractive force = 20/r2 and the repulsive force = 3/(r–2)2 therefore the net attractive force = 20/r2 –3/(r–2)2this function has a zero around 3.26. so if the approaching magnet is further than 3.26 it is attracted, and closer than 3.26 it is repelled (unless it actually somehow gets to a value below 2 [between the repelling and attracting magnets] when it falls into the central magnet)I have attached a graphical representation of this (red is attractive force, green is repulsive force, and blue is the net force; – is repulsive, + is attractive)
I'm fairly sure the force between dipoles falls as 1/r^3
If space has the same negative charge everywhere (isotropic) then I don't see how it would push the electrons away from the nucleus--there would be just as much negative charge on the other side of the electron pushing it toward the nucleus. If, however, you think that this negative charge gathers near the nucleus (like the ring of small magnets) then I would argue that you are no longer talking about "space" but some kind of "ether" and that's a whole different argument...