The classical theory of electric and magnetic fields, both in the static and dynamic case. Also covers general questions about magnets, electric attraction/repulsion etc. Distinct from electrical-engineering.

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28
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7k views

Is there an intuitive explanation for why Lorentz force is perpendicular to a particle's velocity and the magnetic field?

The Lorentz force on a charged particle is perpendicular to the particle's velocity and the magnetic field it's moving through. This is obvious from the equation: $$ \mathbf{F} = q\mathbf{v} \times ...
46
votes
7answers
7k views

Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines

It's been happening to me for years. I finally decided to ask users who are better with "practical physics" when I was told that my experience – that I am going to describe momentarily – prove that I ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

Does special relativity make magnetic fields irrelevant?

I've heard that special relativity makes the concept of magnetic fields irrelevant, replacing them with relativistic effects between charges moving in different velocity frames. Is this true? If so, ...
17
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2answers
21k views

How and why does accelerating charges radiate electromagnetic radiation?

Lets consider it case by case: Case 1: Charge particle is at rest. It has electric field around it. No problem. That is its property. Case 2: Charge particle started moving (its accelerating). We ...
12
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3answers
25k views

How does Hendo hoverboards achieve the self-propelling motion? What is the MFA?

From what I understand of the idea behind Hendo hoverboards, they use four disc shaped hover-engines to generate a self-propelling motion. I also understand that it uses Lenz's law and eddy currents. ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Why doesn't the electric field inside a wire in a circuit fall off with distance from the battery?

We studied electric fields due to point charges. The magnitude of these fields decreases with the square of the distance from the point charge. It seems to me that we could treat the positive ...
5
votes
1answer
414 views

Does magnetic monopole violate $U(1)$ gauge symmetry?

Does a magnetic monopole violate $U(1)$ gauge symmetry? In what sense and why? Insofar as I know, there are at least two types of magnetic monopoles. One is the Dirac monopole while the other is the ...
27
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7answers
4k views

What happens to the magnetic field in this case?

As far as I know, it's possible to create a radially polarised ring magnet, where one pole is on the inside, and the field lines cross the circumference at right angles. So imagine if I made one ...
17
votes
7answers
701 views

What is potential energy truly?

I have a problematic question for which I have been unable to attain a satisfactory answer. What is potential energy truly? - I have read about how potential energy can be seen as the "highering" ...
7
votes
4answers
10k views

Understanding the diagrams of electromagnetic waves

I'm having trouble understanding the diagrams of elctromagnetic waves. I have no problem with any concept in classical mechanics, and I think this can be answered without any relativity (which I ...
22
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4answers
3k views

What is the magnetic field inside hollow ball of magnets?

Setup: we have a large number of thin magnets shaped such that we can place them side by side and eventually form a hollow ball. The ball we construct will have the north poles of all of the magnets ...
10
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2answers
669 views

What is the origin of the factor of $-1/4$ in the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I have seen numerous 'derivations' of the Maxwell Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} ~=~ -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu},$$ but every one has sneakily inserted a factor of $-1/4$ without explaining why. ...
6
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4answers
14k views

Why is the conductor an equipotential surface in electrostatics?

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 equal potential region. Why do books also ...
5
votes
2answers
833 views

Why is the “canonical momentum” for the Dirac equation not defined in terms of the “gauge covariant derivative”?

The canonical momentum is always used to add an EM field to the Schrödinger/Pauli/Dirac equations. Why does one not use the gauge covariant derivative? As far as I can see, the difference is a factor ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 = ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Conservation of Energy in a magnet

When a permanent magnet attracts some object, lets say a steel ball, energy is converted into for instance kinetic energy and heat when attraction happens, and they eventually collide. Does this imply ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

If electromagnetic induction generates a potential difference in a loop, where are the “high” and “low” potentials?

In AP Physics, I learned that when a changing magnetic flux generates an electromotive force around a loop, and emf is measured in volts, where are the "high" and "low" points to measure the potential ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

The Goos Hanchen shift mechanism

When the light is totally reflected in the interface between dense and less-dense medium, we know that the reflected beam will shift a little. Currently I have known the reflection coef r, will be a ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Shielding magnetic field without mu-metal

I need to shield my device from magnetic interference, including earth magnetic field (if you move device around, it might be enough to cause slight currents i guess) and magnetic field caused by ...
13
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1answer
2k views

How to interpret the magnetic vector potential?

In electromagnetism, we can re-write the electric field in terms of the electric scalar potential, and the magnetic vector potential. That is: $E = -\nabla\phi - \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}$, ...
11
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4answers
4k views

Are the Maxwell's equations enough to derive the law of Coulomb?

Are the 8 Maxwell's equations enough to derive the formula for the electromagnetic field created by a stationary point charge, which is the same as the law of Coulomb? If I am not mistaken, due to ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

How does quantum trapping with diamagnets work?

I just saw this demonstration by someone from a Tel Aviv University lab. What they achieved there is mind blowing. I myself own a levitron that uses the Hall effect to levitate a magnet, the problem ...
9
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1answer
3k views

Why does electrical current start to flow?

What happens microscopically when an electrical current starts to flow? I'd like to understand microscopically what happens in detail when electrons start moving (quasi-classically). Electrons can ...
7
votes
1answer
730 views

What happens to an embedded magnetic field when a black hole is formed from rotating charged dust?

Black holes have no-hair so there are uniquely specified by a mass, charge and angular momentum. Imagine a cloud of charged rotating dust. There will be a magnetic field associated with the current ...
15
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4answers
2k views

Popular depictions of electromagnetic wave: is there an error?

Here are some depictions of electromagnetic wave, similar to the depictions in other places: Isn't there an error? It is logical to presume that the electric field should have maximum when ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Similarity between the Coulomb force and Newton's gravitational force

Coulomb force and gravitational force has the same governing equation. So they should be same in nature. A moving electric charge creates magnetic field, so a moving mass should create some force ...
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3answers
449 views

How to understand holography and hologram

I've spent some time reading wiki etc. What I get now is that apart from the normal light amplitude information, holograms also record the phase information of light. But this is so difficult for me ...
4
votes
2answers
967 views

What is charge actually? How to define it? [closed]

Is charge of something for (e.g.) an electron related to electromagnetic space if it exists due to energy, due to which it may have mass? I don't know about quantum mechanics or advanced particle ...
3
votes
2answers
853 views

Electromagnetic Momentum

My book says : The fact that electromagnetic radiation of energy carried momentum was known from classical theory and from the experiments of Nichols and Hull in 1903. This relation is also consistent ...
2
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1answer
1k views

How does a magnet work?

I'm having trouble understanding how a magnet (not the field that is generated as a result but the material itself) work. The particles are aligned in a specific direction to give rise to force but I ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does it seem like a broken magnet's poles flip?

I just took a rare earth magnet out of an old hard drive. Lacking an appropriate screwdriver, force was used, and the magnet broke into two pieces; one about a quarter of the original size and one ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Counting degrees of freedom of gauge bosons

Gauge bosons are represented by $A_{\mu}$, where $\mu = 0,1,2,3$. So in general there are 4 degrees of freedom. But in reality, a photon (gauge boson) has two degrees of freedom (two polarization ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

Manganese has more unpaired electrons than Iron so why is Iron ferromagnetic Manganese paramagnetic?

Manganese has five unpaired electrons, but Iron has four, then why is Iron ferromagnetic and Manganese paramagnetic? What's that property I'm missing?
23
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4answers
9k views

Is Biot-Savart law obtained empirically or can it be derived?

There's already a question like this here so that my question could be considered duplicate, but I'll try to make my point clear that this is a different question. Is there a way to derive ...
14
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6answers
4k views

Why do physicists believe that there exist magnetic monopoles?

One thing I've heard stated many times is that "most" or "many" physicists believe that, despite the fact that they have not been observed, there are such things as magnetic monopoles. However, I've ...
12
votes
5answers
843 views

Where's the energy in a boosted capacitor?

Suppose I look at a parallel plate capacitor in its rest frame and calculate the electrostatic energy, $E$. Next, I look at the same capacitor in a primed frame boosted in the direction perpendicular ...
12
votes
4answers
5k views

Can the Lorentz force expression be derived from Maxwell's equations?

The electromagnetic force on a charge $e$ is $$F=e(E+v\times B),$$ the Lorentz force. But, is this a separate assumption added to the full Maxwell's equations? (the result of some empirical ...
10
votes
7answers
16k views

Electromagnetic fields vs electromagnetic radiation

As I understand, light is what is more generally called "electromagnetic radiation", right? The energy radiated by a star, by an antenna, by a light bulb, by your cell phone, etc.. are all the same ...
15
votes
1answer
955 views

What is the conclusion from Aharonov-Bohm Effect?

What is the conclusion that we can draw from the Aharonov-Bohm effect? Does it simply suggest that the vector potential has measurable effects? Does it mean that it is a real observable in quantum ...
15
votes
2answers
43k views

Effects of a very large magnetic field on the human body

Ever since reading about the NHMFL I have always wondered about this and asked several people without getting a good satisfactory answer. My question is, considering the simplest case let's say a ...
2
votes
4answers
590 views

How any material can provide electrostatic and magnetic shielding

Several metallic objects like Iron, Copper etc can provide electrostatic shielding (one should remain inside the car during thunderstorm) and several superconductors like HTS (High Temperature ...
12
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1answer
4k views

Can microwaves affect WiFi?

I listen to the radio via my iPad with wifi. When I switch the microwave oven on, the radio cuts out. When the microwave oven is finished, the radio comes back on. (This is 100% reproducible!) So - ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Why don't waves erase out each other when looking onto a wall?

If I stand exactly in front of a colorful wall, I imagine the light waves they emit, and they receive should randomly double or erase out each other. So as a result, I imagine I should see a weird ...
6
votes
4answers
11k views

Displacement current - how to think of it

What is a good way to think of the displacement current? Maxwell imagined it as being movements in the aether, small changed of electric field producing magnetic field. I don't even understand that ...
6
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3answers
1k views

Why does the electric field dominate in light?

I read a book on the wave property of light where the author mentioned that the electric field, instead of magnetic field, dominates the light property. I don't understand why. In Maxwell's theory, a ...
2
votes
1answer
222 views

How is the electostatic field propagated by the vacuum? How does a charge feel the presence of another charge when there is NOTHING between them?

Is the word "vacuum" equal to "nothing"? Imagine two charges of opposite sign, far from one another in vacuum, and moving with constant velocity - s.t. none radiates energy, none emits photons. At ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

How does reflection work?

In Newton's model of light as being composed of particles, it's easy to imagine reflection as being the rebounding of individual corpuscles off a surface. However, since light can also behave like a ...
3
votes
2answers
21k views

How is the speed of light calculated?

How is the speed of light calculated? My knowledge of physics is limited to how much I studied till high school. One way that comes to my mind is: if we throw light from one point to another (of known ...
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1answer
246 views

Has a metric formulation of electromagnetism ever been attempted? [duplicate]

I understand that electromagnetic fields carry energy, and this energy curves spacetime gravitationally. That's not my question. I'm asking if anyone has tried to formulate electromagnetism in such ...
14
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4answers
14k views

How long does a permanent magnet remain a magnet?

I have a bunch of magnets (one of those game-board thingies) given to me when I was a school-going lad over 20 years ago, and the magnets feel just as strong as it was the day it was given. As a ...