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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Why aren't there compression waves in electromagnetic fields?

I just started learning about optics, and in the book I'm reading they explain how the electrical field caused by a single charged particle could be described by a series of field lines, and compare ...
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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 ...
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306 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, ...
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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 ...
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352 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 ...
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830 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, ...
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Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Conceptual Questions

Let $M$ be the magnetic moment of a system. Below are the Bloch equations, including the relaxation terms. $$\frac{\partial M_x}{\partial t}=({\bf M} \times \gamma {\bf H_0})_x-\frac{M_x}{T_2} $$ ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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)
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Why is there a photon every millimeter on earth coming from a star millions of light years away?

I've been having this confusing thought for so long now it would be amazing if someone could answer me. Imagine this asterisk * . As you see, from the center point, lines go outwards, just like a ...
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Historical analysis of light interference - difference frequencies

It is well-known that light of two different frequencies illuminating a detector will produce an output with a component at the difference frequency. While such considerations are eminently useful ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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501 views

Is there a strong force analog to magnetic fields?

In special relativity, magnetism can be re-interpreted as an aspect of how electric charges interact when viewed from different inertial frames. Color charge is more complex than electric charge, but ...
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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 ...
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138 views

Is magnetic levitation a good way to vibrationally isolate a speaker from its support?

I recently heard about this company planning to sell a magnetically levitating bluetooth speaker. I understand that the levitation is partly motivated by visual aesthetics, but on the website the ...
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Why Does Light Not Become Polarized In A Magnetic and/or Electric Field?

I am familiar with the Faraday Effect, but I remain confused as to why the electric and/or magnetic components of light do not naturally align themselves with a magnetic or electric field (in a ...
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628 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 ...
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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 ...
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379 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 ...
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How do you determine power flow direction in a transmission line?

Below is a picture of a typical transmission line(about 200 kV). Is there a simple physics experiment which can be performed safely near the line, to determine the power flow direction. Or in other ...
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644 views

fraction of magnetic energy stored outside a solenoid

If I have a long solenoid, e.g. length $l$ and radius $r$ with $l = kr$, where k >> 1, with a nonpermeable (e.g. air) core, how much of the magnetic energy is stored outside as compared to inside? If ...
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184 views

Why don't black holes form from forces other than gravity?

Gravity is the weakest of the fundamental forces, so what is so special about gravity that it can form an inescapably strong field while a force like the EM force cannot? It seems to me that if there ...
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237 views

Ferromagnetism with mobile spins

How can electron spins in Iron at room temperature have ferromagnetic order even though they are travelling at very high speeds? One could argue that spin and motion are completely uncorrelated and ...
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833 views

Superposition of electromagnetic waves

The superposition of two waves is given by $$\sin(\omega_1 t)+\sin(\omega_2 t)=2\cos\left(\frac{\omega_1-\omega_2}{2}t\right)\sin\left(\frac{\omega_1+\omega_2}{2}t\right).$$ For sound waves, this ...
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What is the source of Earth's magnetic field?

I saw on Discovery channel that the source of Earth's magnetic field is the molten iron and metals in the earth's core. The spinning of these liquid metals produces the same effect as electric current ...
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What causes the permittivity and permeability of vacuum?

When light travels through a material, it gets "slowed down" (at least its net speed decreases). The atoms in the material "disturb" the light in some way which causes it to make stops on its path. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What different approximations yield Gravitoelectromagnetism and Weak Field Einstein Equations?

This question is inspired by this answer, which cites Gravitoelectromagnetism (GEM) as a valid approximation to the Einstein Field Equations (EFE). The wonted presentation of gravitational waves is ...
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What is the difference between an electric and a magnetic field? [closed]

This question is a consequence of another question of mine which is about spin. Here is my spin question. What is the difference between these two fields? How do they occur? Am I right if I say that ...
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955 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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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 ...
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Electromagnetic fields vs electromagnetic radiation

As I understand, light is what is more generally called "electromagnetic radiation", right? The energy radiated by a star, by an antenna, by a light bulb, by your cell phone, etc.. are all the same ...
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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. ...
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Can microwaves affect wifi - and can they harm us?

I listen to the radio via my iPad with wifi. When I switch the microwave oven on, the radio cuts out. When the microwave oven is finished, the radio comes back on. (This is 100% reproducible!) So - ...
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Maxwell's Equations using Differential Forms

Maxwell's Equations written with usual vector calculus are $$\nabla \cdot E=\rho/\epsilon_0 \qquad \nabla \cdot B=0$$ $$\nabla\times E=-\dfrac{\partial B}{\partial t} \qquad\nabla\times ...
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Quantizing EM field

Why when we quantize EM field, whe quantize the vector potential $A^\mu$ obtaining vectorial particles (photons) like the elastic field (phonons) and we can't quantize directly the EM-field tensor ...
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What is the symmetry which is responsible for preservation/conservation of electrical charges?

Another Noether's theorem question, this time about electrical charge. According to Noether's theorem, all conservation laws originate from invariance of a system to shifts in a certain space. For ...
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106 views

Does the geomagnetic field rotate?

The Earth rotates about it's own axis. Do the geomagnetic field lines rotate due to this rotation or not?
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407 views

Special relativity and electromagnets

This Veritasium video explains how electromagnets can be explained by special relativity, and how the magnetic field surrounding a current-carrying wire can also be viewed as an electric field, if ...
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429 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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535 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 ...
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Is the Abraham-Minkowski controversy resolved?

A paper was published in 2010 claiming to resolve the Abraham-Minkowski controversy. Is this paper viewed as definitive by physicists?