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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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
15k 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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4answers
9k 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 ...
11
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1answer
523 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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1answer
646 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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
629 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
10k views

Why is copper diamagnetic?

Cu has an unpaired electron in 4s, but it is diamagnetic. I thought that it has to be paramagnetic. What am I missing?
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2answers
370 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 ...
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5answers
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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
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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 ...
9
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2answers
464 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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1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of this “let there be light” joke?

Someone across the restaurant is wearing this shirt, and I certainly don't get it. Update Related: What does this quote about the four dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric tensor mean?
5
votes
2answers
205 views

Is manufacturing roughness really the only reason we don't see optical interference in thick dielectrics like windows?

I had always kind of wondered why we didn't see interference in things like windows -- we were taught that the condition is that the thickness of the film/slab/medium just has to be an integral number ...
4
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1answer
971 views

What is the direction of the induced E field from a changing uniform magnetic field?

If a stationary charge is placed in a changing uniform magnetic field to measure the induced E field at some point, what would be the direction of E? I think E must equal zero normal to B to maintain ...
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4answers
3k views

How to make something charged using electricity?

If I had a piece of metal and i wanted it to be negatively charged. How can I do that?
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 ...
2
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3answers
5k 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 ...
0
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2answers
139 views

Why do we multiply the magnetic flux by the winding number?

A current I flows through a solenoid (with n turns). Self inductance is $L$. If the magnetic flux is $\phi$, I am taught that $-n\phi=LI$ I dont understand the part with $n$, why do we have multiply ...
0
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1answer
5k views

Why isn't Hydrogen's electron pulled into the nucleus? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do electrons occupy the space around nuclei, and not collide with them? Why don’t electrons crash into the nuclei they “orbit”? From what I learned in chemistry, ...
27
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8answers
5k 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 ...
11
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5answers
688 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 ...
14
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5answers
2k 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 ...
11
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4answers
7k views

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 = ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Can a third type of electrical charge exist?

Upon reading my book on physics, it mentions that there are only two discovered types of electric charges. I wonder if there could be a third type of elusive charge, and what type of effects could it ...
10
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3answers
672 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Is Newton's universal gravitational constant the inverse of permittivity of mass in vacuum?

Is it possible to consider Newton's universal gravitational constant, $G$, as inverse of vacuum permittivity of mass? $$\epsilon_m=\frac {1}{4\pi G}$$ if so, then vacuum permeability of mass will ...
8
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5answers
678 views

Is there a fourth component to the electric field and magnetic field?

The Question If the three vector electric and magnetic fields come from the four component four-potential, then is there a fourth component to the electric and magnetic field? Related Question I ...
6
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4answers
2k views

Explaining Walter Lewin's “Complete Breakdown of Intuitiion”

This Walter Lewin lecture hinges on the solenoid producing a non-conservative field. I read in the Feynman Lectures that "all the fundamental forces in nature appear to be conservative" (Vol 1, 14.5) ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Gauge Invariance of the Hamiltonian of the electromagnetic field

The Hamiltonian for an electron of mass $m$ and charge $e$ in an exterior electromagnetic field is $$H=\frac{1}{2m}(p-(e/c)A)^2+e\varphi.$$ The corresponding (via canonical quantization) quantum ...
3
votes
2answers
174 views

Classical EM : clear link between gauge symmetry and charge conservation

In the case of classical field theory, Noether's theorem ensures that for a given action $$S=\int \mathrm{d}^dx\,\mathcal{L}(\phi_\mu,\partial_\nu\phi_\mu,x^i)$$ that stays invariant under the ...
2
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3answers
361 views

How Does $\epsilon$ Relate to the Dampened Harmonic Motion of Electrons?

I realize that the permittivity $\epsilon$ of a substance is easily calculated based on diffraction angles, but I am not satisfied with merely measuring it experimentally. I wish to understand its ...
11
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2answers
587 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} = ...
8
votes
2answers
947 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 ...
5
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2answers
427 views

Must the action be a Lorentz scalar?

Page 580, Chapter 12 in Jackson's 3rd edition text carries the statement: From the first postulate of special relativity the action integral must be a Lorentz scalar because the equations of ...
4
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2answers
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Make a semi transparent mirror with copper

The question: How would you make a semi transparent mirror (50% reflection, 50% transmission) with glass with a layer of copper. For light $\lambda$ = 500nm Try to be as realistic as possible What ...
11
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2answers
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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 ...
9
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3answers
352 views

Field created by varying Gravitational field

Changing Electric Field causes Magnetic filed and changing Magnetic Field causes Electric Field. Is there anything similar in relation to Gravitational Field? What sort of field is created by varying ...
9
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5answers
36k views

Is aluminium magnetic?

From high school, I remember that Aluminium has 13 electrons and thus has an unpaired electron in the 3p shell. This should make Aluminium magnetic. However, the wiki page of Aluminium says its ...
8
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2answers
736 views

current in wire + special relativity = magnetism

Current in wire + moving charge next to wire creates magnetic force in the stationary reference frame OR electric force in the moving reference frame from special relativity due to change in charge ...
8
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4answers
758 views

Do neutron stars reflect light?

The setup is very simple: you have a regular ($1.35$ to $2$ solar masses) evolved neutron star, and you shine plane electromagnetic waves on it with given $\lambda$. Very roughly, what shall be the ...
6
votes
2answers
451 views

Experiment which shows that Newtons third law is not true for magnetic forces

I am just reading David Morins "Introduction to Classical Mechanics". He writes about Newtons third law the following: It holds for forces of the “pushing” and “pulling” type, but it fails for ...
4
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5answers
1k views

Relativistic origin of magnetic field

There is an explanation in the Wikipedia. Unfortunately the article is quite verbose and doesn't clearly explain why both positive and negative charges vary density even if only one is moving. It is ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Do electric and magnetic lines of force physically exist?

As per my imagination any thing can't impose force on the other by not giving even a touch(i,e action at a distance). So I thought there must be some physical existence of lines of force. Although ...
2
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2answers
203 views

How to use Ampere's Law for a semi-infinite wire with current?

Suppose that there is a semi-infinite wire which extends to infinity only in one direction. There are no other circuit elements at the other end(finite end) of the wire and the current does not loop. ...
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1answer
184 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 ...
13
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3answers
987 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?
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3answers
2k views

Which form of Maxwell's equations is fundamental, in integral form or differential form?

I am not sure which form of Maxwell's equations is fundamental, integral form or differential form. Imagine an ideal infinitely long solenoid. When a current is changing in time, can we detect ...
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1answer
4k views

Why are some materials diamagnetic, others paramagnetic, and others ferromagnetic?

Why are some materials diamagnetic, others paramagnetic, and others ferromagnetic? Or, put another way, which of their atomic properties determines which of the three forms of magnetism (if at all) ...