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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Distorted colors of Google StreetView photographs near electric power lines

This is a followup to my question: Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines Some users presented a convincing picture that the electric shocks under power lines are primarily from the ...
15
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7answers
439 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" ...
15
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4answers
14k views

Phase shift of 180 degrees on reflection from optically denser medium

Can anyone please provide an intuitive explanation of why phase shift of 180 degrees occurs in the Electric Field of a EM wave,when reflected from an optically denser medium? I tried searching for it ...
15
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1answer
5k views

Kubo Formula for Quantum Hall Effect

I'm trying to understand the Kubo Formula for the electrical conductivity in the context of the Quantum Hall Effect. My problem is that several papers, for instance the famous TKNN (1982) paper, or ...
14
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9answers
2k views

“Reality” of EM waves vs. wavefunction of individual photons - why not treat the wave function as equally “Real”?

In thinking how to ask this question (somewhat) succinctly, I keep coming back to a Microwave Oven. A Microwave Oven has a grid of holes over the window specifically designed to be smaller in ...
14
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5answers
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What problems with Electromagnetism led Einstein to the Special Theory of Relativity?

I have often heard it said that several problems in the theory of electromagnetism as described by Maxwell's equations led Einstein to his theory of Special Relativity. What exactly were these ...
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3answers
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 ...
14
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5answers
3k views

Is the EmDrive, or “Relativity Drive” possible?

In 2006, New Scientist magazine published an article titled Relativity drive: The end of wings and wheels1 [1] about the EmDrive [Wikipedia] which stirred up a fair degree of controversy and some ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Deriving the speed of the propagation of a change in the Electromagnetic Field from Maxwell's Equations

I've been told that, from Maxwell's equations, one can find that the propagation of change in the Electromagnetic Field travels at a speed $\frac{1}{\sqrt{\mu_0 \epsilon_0}}$ (the values of which can ...
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 ...
14
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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 ...
14
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5answers
908 views

Difference between spin and polarization of a photon

I understand how one associates the spin of a quantum particle, e.g. of a photon, with intrinsic angular momentum. And in electromagnetism I have always understood the polarization of an EM wave as ...
14
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7answers
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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 ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Shine a light into a superconductor

A type-I superconductor can expel almost all magnetic flux (below some critical value $H_c$) from its interior when superconducting. Light as we know is an electromagnetic wave. So what would happen ...
14
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3answers
782 views

How to experimentally reconstruct Maxwell's equations from scratch

What are the minimal experiments would one need to perform in order to reconstruct Maxwell's equations from scratch, assuming even the concepts of $\vec E$ and $\vec B$ are unknown? While I'm not ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Equation describing magnetic hysteresis

So when you're looking at B-H curves for ferromagnetic substances, you often see these magnetic hysteresis curves, which occur, I gather, largely because of domain formation which has some reversible ...
14
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4answers
2k views

History of Electromagnetic Field Tensor

I'm curious to learn how people discovered that electric and magnetic fields could be nicely put into one simple tensor. It's clear that the tensor provides many beautiful simplifications to the ...
14
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1answer
225 views

Why is Terahertz radiation so hard to generate?

This paper (and many others I've read) claim that searching for ways of producing THz radiation is a high-interest research topic. However, something I've just never understood is why it's so hard ...
14
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2answers
683 views

Why are electromagnetic waves not able to pass through a hole with a diameter smaller than the wavelength? [duplicate]

I am doing research on Faraday cages for school, and I want to know how it works. Faraday cages can have holes in them, and if the diameter is smaller than the wavelength of waves you want to block, ...
14
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1answer
533 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 ...
13
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2answers
4k views

Does gravity affect magnetism, vice-versa, or do they “ignore” each other?

I am suddenly struck by the question of whether gravitation affects magnetism in some way. On the other hand, gravity is a weak force, but magnetism seems to be a strong force, so would magnetism ...
13
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1answer
3k views

Can you magnetize iron with a hammer?

We know that a piece of ferromagnet, such as iron, can be magnetized by putting in a strong magnetic field to get domains parallel to the field grow. I also remember from pop. culture and MacGyver ...
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 ...
13
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8answers
5k views

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

Basic property of magnetic lines of force is that, they can never intersect each other. Among the two points given below, which one is correct? Magnetic lines of force of same magnet can't intersect ...
13
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4answers
636 views

Coulomb's Law in the presence of a strong gravitational field

I was under the impression that the $1/r^2$ falloff of various forces were because of the way the area of a expanding sphere scales. But that strict $1/r^2$ falloff would only be globally true in a ...
13
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2answers
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An example which contradict to Newton's 3rd law?

Let a,b be two charged particles. $$\vec{r}_a(0)=\vec{0}$$ $$\vec{r}_b(0)=r\hat{j}$$ $$\vec{v}_a(t)=v_a \hat{i}$$ $$\vec{v}_b(t)=v_b\hat{j}$$ In which both $v_a$ and $v_b$ $<<c$. Then ...
13
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5answers
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How can there be net linear momentum in a static electromagnetic field (not propagating)?

I understand from basic conservation of energy and momentum considerations, it is clear in classical electrodynamics that the fields should be able to have energy and momentum. This leads to the usual ...
13
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4answers
784 views

Nonlinear optics as gauge theory

the widely used approach to nonlinear optics is a Taylor expansion of the dielectric displacement field $\mathbf{D} = \epsilon_0\cdot\mathbf{E} + \mathbf{P}$ in a Fourier representation of the ...
13
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3answers
3k views

The exchange of photons gives rise to the electromagnetic force

Pardon me for my stubborn classical/semiclassical brain. But I bet I am not the only one finding such description confusing. If EM force is caused by the exchange of photons, does that mean only when ...
13
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3answers
976 views

Where the angular momentum has gone?

I came across an interesting problem when I prepared for the preliminary exam on electromagnetism. Below is the problem in its original words: A metallic sphere of mass, $m$, and radius, $a$, ...
13
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0answers
434 views

Do intergalactic magnetic fields imply an Open Universe?

According to a recent paper on the arXiv, they do. How credible is this result? The abstract says: The detection of magnetic fields at high redshifts, and in empty intergalactic space, support ...
12
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8answers
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 ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Why are magnetic fields so much weaker than electric?

In EM radiation, the magnetic field is $ 3*10^8$ times smaller than the electric field, but is it valid to say it's "weaker". These fields have different units, so I don't think you can compare them, ...
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4answers
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Where do magnets get the energy to repel?

If I separate two magnets whose opposite poles are facing, I am adding energy. If I let go of the magnets, then presumably the energy that I added is used to move the magnets together again. However, ...
12
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3answers
707 views

Is classical electromagnetism a dead research field?

Is classical electromagnetism a dead research field? Are there any phenomena within classical electromagnetism that we have no explanation for?
12
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3answers
16k views

Can magnets rotate infinitely?

There are many videos on youtube in which people arranged magnets in circle and rotated one placing in middle of that circle on a shaft, and the magnet (magnet motor) starts madly and continues its ...
12
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6answers
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Is it possible to project a magnetic field at a location in space?

A magnetic field strength drops-off quickly as the distance from a magnet increases. Is there any way to use electromagnetic fields to create a magnetic field at a location. For example, if there are ...
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4answers
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Fundamental invariants of the electromagnetic field

It is a standard exercise in relativistic electrodynamics to show that the electromagnetic field tensor $F_{\mu\nu}$, whose components equal the electric $E^i=cF^{i0}$ and magnetic ...
12
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5answers
16k views

Can someone please explain magnetic vs electric fields?

I've looked through about 20 different explanations, from the most basic to the most complex, and yet I still dont understand this basic concept. Perhaps someone can help me. I dont understand the ...
12
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3answers
12k views

What is the highest possible frequency for an EM wave?

What is the highest possible frequency, shortest wavelength, for an electromagnetic wave in free space, and what limits it? Is the answer different for EM waves in other materials or circumstances? ...
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 ...
12
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5answers
926 views

Making symmetry between E and B fields manifest in Lagrangian

Maxwell's equations are nearly symmetric between $E$ and $B$. If we add magnetic monopoles, or of course if we restrict ourselves to the sourceless case, then this symmetry is exact. This is not ...
12
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4answers
6k 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 ...
12
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6answers
11k 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 ...
12
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1answer
478 views

Physical Interpretation of EM Field Lagrangian

Using differential forms and their picture interpretations, I wonder if it's possible to give a nice geometric & physical motivation for the form of the Electromagnetic Lagrangian density? The ...
12
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2answers
324 views

Is diffraction affected by interaction between photons and electrons?

Suppose we take a sheet of ordinary metal, make a narrow slit in it, and shine a light beam through the slit onto a screen. The light beam will diffract from the edges of the slit and spread out onto ...
12
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4answers
1k views

What could magnetic monopoles do that electrically charged particles can't?

I understand the significance to physics, but what can a magnetic monopole be used for assuming we could free them from spin ice and put them to work? What would be a magnetic version of electricity? ...
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 ...
11
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5answers
12k views

Difference between electric field and electric displacement field

$$\mathbf D = \varepsilon \mathbf E$$ I don't understand the difference between $\mathbf D$ and $\mathbf E$. When I have a plate capacitor different medium inside will change $\mathbf D$, right? ...
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4answers
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Derivation of Maxwell's equations from field tensor lagrangian

I've started reading Peskin and Schroeder on my own time, and I'm a bit confused about how to obtain Maxwell's equations from the (source-free) lagrangian density $L = ...