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21
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1answer
796 views

Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
10
votes
3answers
418 views

Current in a simple circuit

I was going over my notes for an introductory course to electricity and magnetism and was intrigued by something I don't have an answer to. I remember my professor mentioning, to the best I can ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Can the magnetic lines of force of two or more magnets intersect each other?

I know the basic property of magnetic lines of force,that they can never intersect each other.But,I don't know whether it mean -magnetic lines of force of same magnet can't intersect each other,but ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

What are the fields produced around a current carrying conductor?

If you consider a current carrying conductor, every instant an electron enters the conductor, another electron will be leaving the conductor. Thus, the current carrying conductor will not be charged ...
9
votes
3answers
447 views

How would charge be distributed in charged conductors if the Coulomb law was not ${1}/{r^2}$?

Would the excess charge on a conductor move to surface until the electric field inside become zero if the Coulomb law was for example $\frac{1}{r^3}$? If yes, would the distribution $\sigma(x,y)$ be ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between an electric and a magnetic field? [closed]

This question is a consequence of another question of mine which is about spin. Here is my spin question. What is the difference between these two fields? How do they occur? Am I right if I say that ...
8
votes
3answers
417 views

Electric Field inside a regular polygon with corner charges

If we have equal charges located at the corners of a regular polygon, then the electric field at its center is zero. Are there other points inside a polygon where the field vanishes? The simplest ...
7
votes
6answers
602 views

Why cant Electrostatic field lines form closed loops?

My physics textbook says "Electrostatic field lines do not form closed loops. This is a consequence of the conservative nature of electric field." But I cant quite understand. Can anyone elaborate? ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Why does the voltage increase when capacitor plates are separated?

In lab, my TA charged a large circular parallel plate capacitor to some voltage. She then disconnected the power supply and used a electrometer to read the voltage (about 10V). She then pulled the ...
7
votes
7answers
544 views

Electric field lines density

When we're dealing with problems in electrostatics (especially when we use Gauss' law) we often refer to electric field lines density which is inversely proportional to radius in case of a single ...
7
votes
2answers
583 views

Mechanism by which electric and magnetic fields interrelate

I read that force due to electric field on some particle in one reference frame can exhibit itself as force due to magnetic field in some other reference frame and that electric and magnetic fields ...
7
votes
1answer
85 views

Does an electric field create a pH gradient?

Since pH is a measure of the effective concentration of $\mathrm{H}^+$ ions a solution, I expect that an electric field applied to a solution will create a pH gradient. The higher concentration of ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Why can two (or more) electric field lines never cross?

The the title is self explanatory, I guess. Why can two (or more) electric field lines never cross?
6
votes
3answers
550 views

How do I calculate electric fields due to currents of magnetic dipoles?

Short version of my question: Do dipole currents cause fields? I think currents of aligned magnetic dipoles cause an electric field, but I don't know how to calculate this field except in the ...
6
votes
2answers
119 views

Quantization of electrostatic $\vec E$ field?

Can a electrostatic field $\vec E=\vec E(x,y,z)$ (time-independent) or electrostatic potential $\phi=\phi(x,y,z)$ be quantized? If yes, will these quanta be photons again? But we don't have an ...
6
votes
1answer
979 views

What is the penetration length of static electric field into conducting metals?

How large is the penetration length for static electric field into good conductors? I have two versions: (1) few atomic spacings $$a\sim n_{e}^{-1/3},$$ and (2) Debye length computed by Fermi ...
5
votes
3answers
269 views

Horizontal $E$-field for a charged conducting disk

For part of a simulation I am writing, I need to know the electric field emitted from a charged conducting disk. If the disk was laid out in the $x$-$y$ plane, I am interested in the field in that ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

What happens when we connect a metal wire between the 2 poles of a battery?

As I remembered, at the 2 poles of a battery, positive or negative electric charges are gathered. So there'll be electric field existing within the battery. This filed is neutralized by the chemical ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Could we run an electric car on electric eels?

Could we run an electric car on a tank full of electric eels? I've heard electric eels are around 400 to 500 volts and can keep shocking for up to an hour. They also have a 10 volt system to sense ...
5
votes
5answers
711 views

Paradox with Gauss' law when space is uniformly charged everywhere

Consider that space is uniformly charged everywhere, i.e., filled with a uniform charge distribution, $\rho$, everywhere. By symmetry, the electric field is zero everywhere. (If I take any point in ...
5
votes
3answers
215 views

What´s the electric field in the entire space generated by a uniform (but not constant) magnetic field?

Let me explain in details. Consider a region in space with no free charges and no free currents, so that the charge density is $\rho=0$ and the volumetric current is $\vec{J}=\vec{0} \text{ }$ in the ...
5
votes
4answers
389 views

How electron movement produces current,instead of having a slow drift speed

Just need a clarification here, how the current is produced due to the movement of electrons, in an external circuit,having a very slow drift speed. Normally in a battery there is high potential ...
5
votes
3answers
233 views

Is it true that $\vec{E}\neq 0$ inside a 1- or 2-dimensional conductor?

It is known that when a conductor is placed in an electric field, the charges redistribute themselves such that $E=0$ inside the conductor. I was also told that the same is NOT true for the 2D and 1D ...
5
votes
1answer
331 views

Intuition behind Fourier transformed spaces

Intuitively I've been able to understand a Fourier transform a change-of-basis formula - you're basically moving from position to momentum basis or from time to frequency - but what does it mean that ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Charge Distribution on a Parallel Plate Capacitor

If a parallel plate capacitor is formed by placing two infinite grounded conducting sheets, one at potential $V_1$ and another at $V_2$, a distance $d$ away from each other, then the charge on either ...
4
votes
2answers
408 views

Why is the voltage drop across an ideal wire zero?

I'm having trouble conceptualizing why the voltage drop between two points of an ideal wire (i.e. no resistance) is $0~V$. Using Ohm's Law, the equation is such: $$ V = IR \\ V = I(0~\Omega) \\ V = ...
4
votes
2answers
472 views

How does lightning “know” where to go?

If lightning comes down in, say, a large flat field with a lightning rod sticking out of the middle, the lightning will strike the rod. How does it "know" the rod is there? Will it always strike the ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Why we cannot use Gauss's Law to find the Electric Field of a finite-length charged wire?

One of my physics books has a nice example on how to use Gauss's Law to find the electric field of a long (infinite) charged wire. However, at the very end of the example, the author ends by saying ...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

In electrostatics, why the electric field inside a conductor is zero?

In electromagnetism books, such as Griffiths or the like, when they talk about the properties of conductors in case of electrostatics they say that the electric field inside a conductor is zero. I ...
4
votes
2answers
401 views

Influence of charged particle's own electric field on itself

I read this in my textbook: A charged particle or object is not affected by its own electric field. Since I find this completely unintuitive and my mind is yelling "wrong! wrong! how could a particle ...
4
votes
3answers
700 views

Field due to current in a wire

Suppose a current flows in a straight cylindrical wire so that an electric field $\textbf{E}$ is maintained in the wire. Will there be an electric field just outside the wire..?
4
votes
4answers
5k views

In electrostatics, why the conductor is an equipotential surface?

Since the electric field inside a conductor is zero that means the potential is constant inside a conductor, which means the "inside" of a conductor is an equipotential region. Why books conclude ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

“Find the net force the southern hemisphere of a uniformly charged sphere exerts on the northern hemisphere”

This is Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, 2.43, if you have the book. The problem states Find the net force that the southern hemisphere of a uniformly charged sphere exerts on the ...
4
votes
2answers
502 views

Spherical charge in two different dielectric materials

I am trying to freshen up my memory about electrical fields and I came across this exercise from school. A sphere with a constantly distributed charge is located in between two different dielectrics ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

Poynting theorem and entering power

I refer to the time-domain version of the Poyinting theorem in electro-magnetism: $- \displaystyle \oint_S (\mathbf{E} \times \mathbf{H}) \cdot d\mathbf{S} - \int_V \mathbf{E} \cdot \mathbf{J}_i \ dV ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Are the field lines the same as the trajectories of a particle with initial velocity zero

Is it true that the field lines of an electric field are identical to the trajectories of a charged particle with initial velocity zero? If so, how can one prove it? The claim is from a german ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

How does electricity flow in conductor when potential difference is applied?

Electrons move from higher potential to lower potential. When a conductor is connected to battery, electron move from negative terminal to positive terminal. But the battery itself forms a Electric ...
3
votes
5answers
853 views

What is the origin of the Dirac delta term in the dipole electric field?

I am a bit lost how one has deduced the formula for electric field with electric dipole because of some inconsistency between different sources. The Wikipedia article contains a delta function in the ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Electric field of a negative charge

How was it discovered that the electric field of a negative charge points towards the charge itself? Is it true? (Courtesy of wikipedia)
3
votes
2answers
380 views

Potential of arbitrary charge distribution

Imagine this: You have a sphere of air where you have no charge and around this sphere you have a charge distribution $\rho(r,\theta,\phi)$. (For instance, this could be ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

Relation between Gauss' law and Coulomb's law

In Coulomb's law if the relation was as if electric field intensity was to vary inversely $1/r$ with distance rather than the inverse $1/r^2$ of square of distance, would the Gauss's law still be ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Using the image charges method to find the electric field

The following is a question from a tutorial in my Physics 2 course about conductors and the Method of image charges. We are given two infinite perpendicular and grounded plains. The first ...
3
votes
3answers
168 views

Are Field Lines an accurate depiction of reality?

Field lines are used for explaining a wide variety of phenomenon. But is it really an accurate depiction of reality? Is it more accurate to imagine a field in a different manner. For instance, using ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do we test electric fields with positive charges and not negative ones?

Is there any difference between using a positive versus a negative charge to test an electric field?
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Does a current carrying wire produce electric field outside?

In the modern texts of electromagnetism in the presence of stationary currents the electric field is assumed conservative $\nabla \times E =0 $. Using this we get $E_{||}^{out}=E_{||}^{in}$ which ...
3
votes
1answer
330 views

Revealing Electric field lines through Grass seeds in mineral oil

In one of Walter Lewin's famous lectures, he takes a small container almost completely filled with mineral oil and grass seeds (I'll keep looking for the video to link to it). He connects two ...
3
votes
1answer
213 views

What force particle mediates electric fields and magnetic fields?

The force carrier for magnetic fields and electric fields are supposedly photons. I don't get it: 1) Wouldn't that mean that a charged particle (e.g. an electron or even a polarized H2O molecule) ...
3
votes
4answers
347 views

How can there be a Current and an Electric field in an idealized wire with no voltage drop?

In an ideal circuit, How can there be a current b/w points a & b, when there is no potential difference and thus no electric field between a & b? If there is no current, then where does ...
3
votes
1answer
620 views

Electric field a distance $z$ above the center of a circular loop. The Hard way [closed]

Problem 2.5: Find the electric field a distance $z$ above the center of a circular loop of radius $r$ which carries a uniform line charge $\lambda$. This problem is in refereced here (with ...