The power of the internet

About 18 months ago, I posted this blogpost asking about a couple of science fiction stories.

The first one, about an historian who tries to invent a time device, has been solved thanks to the power of the interwebs.

A few hours ago, Donal placed a comment on the ol' post:

I was trying to remember, too, and was just told it is T. L. Sherred's "E for Effort."

Well, I Google E for Effort and discover a summary that is not my story. I'm about to close the window in sadness when I realize my story is also on the page:

The Dead Past, written by (who else!) Isaac Asimov in 1956.

So that's one down. Thanks internet! Now onto the second mysterious book:
Sci-Fi novel that I believe was written in the 90s by a writer who is actually a M./Ph.D Physicist? It's about two pieces of... something. They are 4-pole rather than 2-pole (I forget if its magnetic-related or what), and as a result the two pieces are trying to come into contact with each other. When unshielded (lead? forcefields? I forget what the shield was) the pieces "want" to travel towards each other, and do so extremely violently: burning/cutting through anything they touch in a relentless struggle to contact each other. Early in the novel, one piece is in orbit and causes a space station or vehicle to tilt as the other piece becomes unshielded. That's about all I remember about that little tome, though again it is a full length 90s novel. The scientist/author does a little "Afterward" where he discusses the realistic probability of his tale: basically if this 4-pole material does exist, our solid state models indicate it will behave in the manner he has indicated.