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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

11
votes
5answers
2k 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
votes
4answers
6k views

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, ...
11
votes
3answers
381 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?
11
votes
5answers
535 views

Why are wires in simple circuits approximated as equipotentials?

I just answered this question: Voltage in a circuit by asserting that any two points joined only by a wire, but no other circuit elements, are at the same value of the electric potential. It is, of ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
182 views

What mechanisms allow conductors to be transparent?

An electric field in a conductor causes charges to redistribute so as to cancel out the original field, bringing the field to zero. This is, I think, a common argument for why conductors are generally ...
11
votes
1answer
186 views

Do image charges radiate?

Suppose I have a charge moving back and forth above an infinite, grounded, conducting plane. Can I calculate the total radiated power by using image charges? That is, are the scalar and vector ...
11
votes
8answers
7k views

What is the difference between electric potential, voltage and electromotive force?

This is a confused part ever since I started learning electricity. What is the difference between voltage and electromotive force (emf)? Both of them have the same SI unit, right? I would appreciate ...
11
votes
2answers
270 views

What was Feynman's “much better way of presenting the electrodynamics” — which did **not** appear in the Feynman lectures?

Does anyone know what Feynman was referring to in this interview which appears at the beginning of The Feynman Tips on Physics? Note that he is referring to something that did not appear in the ...
11
votes
2answers
524 views

What's the explanation for the Giant Magnetoresistance effect?

I've been reading this review on Giant Magnetoresistance, and something about it is bothering me. The basic effect is that, using a special "stack" of layers (alternating between ferromagnetic and not ...
11
votes
1answer
191 views

Theorems on instability of classical systems of charged particles?

Classically, a hydrogen atom should not be stable, since it should radiate away all its energy. I remember hearing from my favorite freshman physics prof ca. 1983 about a general theorem to the effect ...
11
votes
1answer
477 views

Formulation of Transformation optics using a Material Manifold

Dear Community, recently, Transformation optics celebrates some sort of scientific revival due to its (possible) applications for cloaking, see e.g. Broadband Invisibility by Non-Euclidean Cloaking ...
11
votes
2answers
642 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? ...
10
votes
5answers
6k views

How do moving charges produce magnetic fields?

I'm tutoring high school students. I've always taught them that: A charged particle moving without acceleration produces an electric as well as a magnetic field. It produces an electric field ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

If a credit card won't read when swiped, does wrapping it in plastic actually help and if so, why?

I've on occasion seen when a cashier has trouble getting a credit card to read, will wrap it in a thin plastic grocery bag, and try swiping it again. Much to my surprise, it seemed to work. Since the ...
10
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...
10
votes
7answers
5k views

What does it take to understand Maxwell's equations?

Assume I want to learn math and physics enough to reach a level where I understand Maxwell's equations (The terms and reasoning in the equations I.e. why they "work"). What would I have to learn in ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it possible to mathematically derive the formula for resistance?

Resistance is given by $\rho L/A$, where $\rho$ is the material constant, $L$ is the length, and $A$ is the area. Is there any way that this can be derived mathematically, or is the only way ...
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
2answers
455 views

Essential background for QFT study

The preface to Mark Srednicki's "Quantum Field Theory" says that to be prepared for the book, one must recognize and understand the following equations: $$\frac{d\sigma}{d\Omega} = ...
10
votes
4answers
640 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
335 views

How many atoms per light year does light encounter when traversing interstellar space?

Interstellar space is pretty empty but there a small number of of atoms (mostly hydrogen?) floating around. How many atoms per light year would a photon encounter while traversing interstellar space?
10
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
3k views

Why no longitudinal electromagnetic waves?

According to wikipedia and other sources, there are no longitudinal electromagnetic waves in free space. I'm wondering why not. Consider an oscillating charged particle as a source of EM waves. Say ...
10
votes
3answers
657 views

Can the path of a charged particle under the influence of a magnetic field be considered piecewise linear?

Ordinarily we consider the path of a charged particle under the influence of a magnetic field to be curved. However, in order for the trajectory of the particle to change, it must emit a photon. ...
10
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
265 views

The problem of self-force on point charges

Allow me to preface this by stating that I am a high school student interested in physics and self-studying using a variety of resources, both on- and off-line, primarily GSU's HyperPhysics website, ...
10
votes
2answers
570 views

Charge on Sphere due to Contact with Capacitor

Question: Consider a parallel plate capacitor which is connected to potential difference $V$. Let there be a small spherical conductor, assume that its radius is much smaller than the distance ...
10
votes
1answer
408 views

How can I explain or demonstrate the Lorentz Force to a 12 year old?

I'm a space physicist. I've been working with a group of school students (aged between around 10 and 12) exploring the Sun, the Earth and the solar system. We've talked about some basics of magnetism ...
10
votes
1answer
306 views

How the inverse square law in electrodynamics is related to photon mass?

I have read somewhere that one of the tests of the inverse square law is to assume nonzero mass for photon and then, by finding a maximum limit for it , determine a maximum possible error in ...
10
votes
2answers
572 views

Is it possible to levitate a toy maglev train using only permanent magnets as long as the train stays in motion?

I am fascinated with magnets, and specifically the idea of magnetic levitation. I recently purchased a Levitron toy maglev train and have enjoyed finding the perfect sweet spot at which it levitates, ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Electromagnetic Field as a Connection in a Vector Bundle

I would like to know more about Ehresmann connections in vector bundles and how they relate to the electromagnetic field and the electron in quantum mechanics. Background: The Schrödinger equation ...
9
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
468 views

Form of the Classical EM Lagrangian

So I know that for an electromagnetic field in a vacuum the Lagrangian is $\mathcal L=-\frac 1 4 F^{\mu\nu} F_{\mu\nu}$, the standard model tells me this. What I want to know is if there is an ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How is a spherical electromagnetic wave emitted from an antenna described in terms of photons?

When an atenna transmits radiowaves isn't it true that the electromagnetic pulse is radiated away from the accelerating electron as a spherical wave in all directions simultaneously, and if so how can ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Would a gauss rifle based on generated magnetic fields have any kickback?

In the case of currently developing Gauss rifles, in which a slug is pulled down a line of electromagnets, facilitated by a micro-controller to achieve great speed in managing the switching of the ...
9
votes
2answers
686 views

If you run an electric current through a wire loop, do the accelerated charges radiate?

Does an accelerated charge always radiate? For example the current electrons in an electric circuit when moving through a turn they are accelerated, do they radiate because of that acceleration? If ...
9
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
5k 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? ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

What is reason for electronic compass calibration

Most GPS receivers and smart phones contain an "electronic compass", which I understand is generally a Hall effect magnetometer. These devices generally require "calibration", which involves waving ...
9
votes
1answer
562 views

If you are carrying a magnet, can you tell when you cross the event horizon of a black hole?

By the no hair theorem, a black hole is completely characterized by it's mass, charge and angular momentum. Therefore dipole and higher pole magnetic fields are completely expelled when a black hole ...
9
votes
2answers
305 views

Motivation for Potentials

This is a hypothetical question about "pedagogy". Let's say I am trying to take someone who has just a very small amount of knowledge about Newtonian mechanics and convince them that the Lagrangian ...
9
votes
1answer
448 views

Do we have magnetic monopole? Is charge, according to yesterdays paper on Nature by Ray-Roukokoski-Kandel-Möttönen-Hall (30.01.14) quantized?

As everybody here knows, Maxwell's equation would look more beautiful if a magnetig charge were present. Beyond the aesthetics question, if a single magnetic Dirac monopole would be found, the ...