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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12
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9answers
20k 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)
5
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1answer
332 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 ...
11
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3answers
5k 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 ...
13
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6answers
28k views

Can magnetic fields be redirected and focused at one point?

I know that magnetic fields can be redirected, but... given a situation where you have static magnetic field over a large area, and you want to quickly change the magnetic field strength. Is it ...
10
votes
1answer
373 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
680 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
419 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 $0$.
14
votes
3answers
19k 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? ...
11
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2answers
5k 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 ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Can a free particle absorb/emit photons?

As simple as in the title.. I would like to know also some mathematics about it!
10
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4answers
5k 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. ...
10
votes
2answers
3k 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: ...
9
votes
2answers
588 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. ...
5
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2answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
266 views

Induced magnetic field produces electric field and vice versa forever!

So here are the two of Maxwell's laws that I am interested in: So we have the simple circuit (from google): So, before the system goes into steady-state we know that charge slowly accumulates on ...
3
votes
2answers
293 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
votes
2answers
18k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
817 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
221 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
6k 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
votes
1answer
587 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
5k 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) ...
6
votes
1answer
681 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
votes
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
13k 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?
2
votes
2answers
491 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
vote
1answer
192 views

Relationship between the material properties of an edge and the fringes behind this edge

The double-slit experiment shows fringes on a screen. Closing one of the slits there is still an interference pattern on the screen behind the slit. Making the slit wider we still see fringes between ...
12
votes
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
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
683 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
votes
2answers
229 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
3k 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?
4
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1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
4k 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?
2
votes
6answers
789 views

Why can't electrons fall into the nucleus?

I read a book on pop sci book on quantum mechanics and the author said that electrons do not fall into the nucleus due to quantum mechanics- which principles suggest this (I think it was Heisenberg's ...
1
vote
2answers
4k 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?
0
votes
2answers
180 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
votes
1answer
6k 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, ...
15
votes
5answers
4k 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
votes
5answers
781 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
3answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
651 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, ...
8
votes
5answers
802 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
15k views

Does a current carrying wire produce electric field outside?

In the modern texts of electromagnetism in the presence of stationary currents the electric field is assumed conservative $\nabla \times E =0 $. Using this we get $E_{||}^{out}=E_{||}^{in}$ which ...
17
votes
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Do electrostatic fields really obey “action at a distance”?

In an electromagnetic theory class, my professor introduced the concept of "action at a distance in physics". He said that: If two charges are at some very large distance, and if any one of the ...
6
votes
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) ...
6
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2answers
531 views

How can length contraction result in electron circular motion in a magnetic field?

If you ask around about magnetic fields, you will read seemingly-authoritative articles which say magnetism is a consequence of length contraction. This is widely taught and is repeated in answers ...