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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Electromagnetic field and continuous and differentiable vector fields

We have notions of derivative for a continuous and differentiable vector fields. The operations like curl,divergence etc. have well defined precise notions for these fields. We know electrostatic and ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the physical meaning/concept behind Legendre polynomials?

In mathematical physics and other textbooks we find the Legendre polynomials are solutions of Legendre's differential equations. But I didn't understand where we encounter Legendre's differential ...
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1answer
346 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?
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2answers
746 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 ...
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3answers
12k 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 ...
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3answers
5k views

Where can I find simulation software for electricity and magnets?

Is there easily-available* software to simulate coils, solenoids, and other magnetic and electromagnetic devices? I'd like to play around with some design ideas, such as Halbach arrays, but physics ...
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393 views

Forcing quadrupole moments to vanish for a neutral system

For a system of electric charges $q_i$, at positions $\mathbf{r}_i$, with a nonzero net charge $Q=\sum_i q_i$, one can define a "centre of charge" in the obvious way as $$ ...
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6answers
1k views

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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16k views

Effects of a very large magnetic field on the human body

Ever since reading about the NHMFL I have always wondered about this and asked several people without getting a good satisfactory answer. My question is, considering the simplest case let's say a ...
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3answers
735 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. ...
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8answers
4k 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 ...
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1answer
570 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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5k 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 ...
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360 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 ...
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2answers
325 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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2answers
596 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 ...
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1answer
374 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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2answers
938 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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291 views

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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0answers
247 views

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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419 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. ...
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6answers
8k views

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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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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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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4answers
3k 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. ...
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1answer
686 views

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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322 views

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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2answers
441 views

Does Kaluza-Klein Theory Require an Additional Scalar Field?

I've seen the Kaluza-Klein metric presented in two different ways., cf. Refs. 1 and 2. In one, there is a constant as well as an additional scalar field introduced: $$\tilde{g}_{AB}=\begin{pmatrix} ...
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3answers
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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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1answer
365 views

Recovering all of Maxwell's equations from the variational principle

Whether you can get the first couple of Maxwell equations from a variational principle? In the second volume of the Landau theoretical physics said that it is impossible.
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6answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
531 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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183 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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2answers
175 views

Which of these theories on why light slows in media are true?

This question is similar to previously asked questions, but the responses to them are confusing and I think it may be better covered by listing out all the potential answers for clarity. It's a ...
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5answers
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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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1answer
643 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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213 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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1answer
391 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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3answers
7k views

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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651 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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2answers
6k views

How & Why does accelerating charges radiate electromagnetic radiation?

Lets consider it case by case: Case 1: Charge particle is at rest. It has electric field around it. No problem. That is its property. Case 2: Charge particle started moving (its accelerating). We ...
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2answers
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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5answers
871 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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1answer
3k views

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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5answers
2k views

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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323 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 ...
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1answer
292 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 ...
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Can superconducting magnets fly (or repel the earth's core)?

If a superconducting magnet and appropriate power supply had just enough $I\cdot s$ (current $\cdot$ length) so that when it was perpendicular to the earth's magnetic field, the force of the ...