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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4k views

Is gravity just electromagnetic attraction?

Recently, I was pondering over the thought that is most of the elementary particles have intrinsic magnetism, then can gravity be just a weaker form of electromagnetic attraction? But decided the ...
8
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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 ...
7
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1answer
2k 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 ...
14
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1answer
601 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 ...
6
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4answers
6k 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 ...
5
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1answer
867 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 ...
2
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1answer
161 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
3k views

Why does the “Troll-Mobile” not work?

See image: If I'm not totally dumb the car would move when the right magnet would not be attached to the car, at same distance of the booth magnets. So why would it not move?
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4answers
6k 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 ...
1
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3answers
298 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 ...
5
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3answers
369 views

Are free electrons in a metal really free

Is it an accurate statement to say that free electrons in a metal experience NO restoring force when they interact with electromagnetic waves? I understand that the electrons exist in a space filled ...
5
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2answers
3k 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 ...
3
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3answers
674 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
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2answers
1k views

What is the force between two magnetic dipoles?

What is the force between two magnetic dipoles? If I have two current loops parallel to each other with currents $I_1$ and $I_2$ and radii $R_1$ and $R_2$ a distance $z$ from each other, what is the ...
0
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1answer
4k views

Violation of Newton's 3rd law and momentum conservation [closed]

Why and when does Newton's 3rd law violate in relativistic mechanics? Check this link.
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3answers
294 views

Satellite Power

Electromagnetic induction is the production of voltage across a conductor moving through a magnetic field. Since an orbiting satellite is passing through the Earth's magnetic field would a voltage be ...
3
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3answers
948 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 ...
2
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3answers
1k views

If electromagnetic fields give charge to particles, do photons carry charge?

As I understand these two statements: An electromagnetic field gives particles charge A photon is a quantum of electromagnetic field It must mean that a photon carries charge. But I guess it isn't ...
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6answers
3k views

No magnetic field from a static charge - Is there a simple physical argument to show why?

For a charge moving in an electric field $\vec E$, its equation of motion is given by the electric part of the Lorentz force $$\frac d {dt}\gamma m \vec v = e\vec E$$This comes from the conservation ...
15
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3answers
4k views

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

Well, 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. Is there a way to derive Biot-Savart law from the Lorentz' Force ...
9
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2answers
368 views

Forces as One-Forms and Magnetism

Well, some time ago I've asked here if we should consider representing forces by one-forms. Indeed the idea as, we work with a manifold $M$ and we represent a force by some one-form $F \in ...
23
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7answers
3k 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 ...
14
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2answers
3k views

How strong of magnetic field would noticibly attract a person?

There is Iron in blood. Iron is magnetic. Roughly how strong would a magnet have to be to induce a noticeable attraction? It would be nice to know this for several distances. Also, do electromagnets ...
13
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6answers
3k 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 ...
11
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2answers
25k 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 ...
10
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4answers
3k 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
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9answers
15k views

What's the core difference between the electric and magnetic forces?

I require only a simple answer. One sentence is enough... (It's for high school physics)
10
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1answer
331 views

Effect of introducing magnetic charge on use of vector potential

It is well known that Maxwell equations can be made symmetric w.r.t. $E$ and $B$ by introducing non-zero magnetic charge density/flux. In this case we have $div B = \rho_m$, where $\rho_m$ is a ...
8
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2answers
2k views

The equivalent electric field of a magnetic field

I know that Lorentz force for a charge $q$, with velocity $\vec{v}$ in magnetic field $\vec{B}$ is given by $$\vec{F} =q \vec{v} \times \vec{B}$$ but there will exist a frame of reference where ...
2
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4answers
305 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 ...
10
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4answers
4k views

How do permanent magnets manage to focus field on one side?

The actuator of a hard drive head consists of two very strong neodymium magnets, with an electromagnetic coil between them. If you take that apart, the magnets attract each other very strongly. ...
9
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2answers
2k views

What is the minimum wavelength of electromagnetic radiation?

As a first approximation, I don't see how a wavelength of less than 2 Planck distances could exist. The question is: Are there any other limits that would come into play before that? For example: ...
8
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2answers
479 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. ...
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2answers
1k views

Magnetic field lines

When I searched the net about magnetic field lines, Wikipedia told something about contour lines and that magnetic materials placed along a magnetic field has some specific loci, which i did not ...
3
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2answers
256 views

The meaning of potential in Bohm-Aharonov experiment

The Bohm-Aharonov experiment involves a magnetic field inside a cylinder which is zero outside that cylinder. Nonetheless it affects the electrons moving outside the cylinder. The explanation for this ...
3
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1answer
308 views

Is there any potential associated with magnetism

Can anybody please tell me if magnetism is a conservative force or if there is a field associated with it? How to reason? One thing I know is that the work done by a magnetic force is $0$.
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7answers
5k views

What is the electric field generated by a spinning magnet?

Consider a cylinder of permanently magnetized material, with uniform magnetization pointing along the cylindrical symmetry axis (the $z$-direction). The magnet is rotating about its cylindrical ...
11
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1answer
477 views

Magnets arranged in a sphere

If I was to take a bunch of magnets and arrange them in a sphere (And keep them there with glue or plastic or something) so that the north pole faces the outside of the sphere and the south pole faces ...
10
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6answers
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 ...
8
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2answers
378 views

What is the mechanism by which magnetic fields do work?

I've seen some conflicted answers to this question in texts and on the web, in the case of a dipole, for example. Do magnetic fields do work directly, or is it their induced electric fields that do ...
6
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2answers
3k views

How do superconducting materials float in magnetic field?

The movie Avatar got me interested in the subject, but so far I only found sophisticated articles loaded with unfamiliar words. Is there a simple way to explain how magnetic field affects ...
6
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1answer
595 views

When a neutral star with a magnetic field collapses to form a black hole, what happens to the magnetic field?

By the no-hair theorem, black holes are only characterized by mass, charge and angular momentum. If the star is neutral, the black hole will have only mass and angular momentum - and therefore it ...
6
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2answers
2k views

How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
4
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2answers
956 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 ...
2
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2answers
283 views

How does the Lorentz force work?

How does the Lorentz force work? In the context of a homopolar motor. I am a year 13 student so please keep your answers simple! I am having trouble understanding the Lorentz force; does the magnetic ...
1
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2answers
302 views

Point charge potential (sign problem)

I'm a bit embarrassed, but I'm not able to compute the electric potential at point $P$ (at a distance $R$ from the origin) generated by a positive unitary point charge in the origin with the right ...
12
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5answers
2k views

Will an emf be induced across the ends of a stationary metal rod placed in a time-varying magnetic field?

Consider a thin metal rod placed in a magnetic field whose direction is constant but whose magnitude is changing with time, with the length of the rod perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic ...
11
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8answers
4k views

Is it possible to separate the poles of a magnet?

It might seem common sense that when we split a magnet we get 2 magnets with their own N-S poles. But somehow, I find it hard to accept this fact.(Which I now know is stated by Gauss's Law) I have ...
3
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1answer
2k views

Moving conductors in magnetic fields: is there electric field or not?

this is my first question on PhysicsSE (I'm already an user of MathSE). I'm a mathematics students trying to understand Faraday's law, that is $$\varepsilon= -\frac{d \Phi_B}{dt}$$ where ...