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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3k views

Maxwell in multiple dimensions: What happens to curl?

I read this answer a while ago, and while thinking about $\nabla$, I realized something. Since the cross product can be written as a determinant, in higher dimensions we require extra vector inputs. ...
16
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4answers
751 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, ...
9
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7answers
18k 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 ...
9
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6answers
1k 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
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2answers
855 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 ...
11
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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 ...
10
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1answer
4k 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 ...
9
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3answers
3k views

Maxwells Equation from Electromagnetic Lagrangian

In Heaviside-Lorentz units the Maxwell's equations are: $$\nabla \cdot \vec{E} = \rho $$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{B} - \frac{\partial \vec{E}}{\partial t} = \vec{J}$$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{E} + \frac{\...
9
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7answers
17k views

What is Electromotive force (EMF)? How is it related to potential difference?

What is Electromotive force (EMF)? How is it related to the potential difference? Is it created by the potential difference in any conductor? Is it a process? Why is it called force? Does writing EMF ...
5
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2answers
506 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
672 views

Do objects have energy because of their charge?

My gut feeling tells me things should have energy because of their charge, like they have energy because of their mass. Is this possible? Has it been shown? If not then what is missing to make such ...
2
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3answers
429 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 ...
12
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1answer
4k views

Can microwaves affect WiFi?

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 - ...
11
votes
7answers
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
695 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. ...
10
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4answers
873 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
11k views

Displacement current - how to think of it

What is a good way to think of the displacement current? Maxwell imagined it as being movements in the aether, small changed of electric field producing magnetic field. I don't even understand that ...
5
votes
1answer
280 views

What is the action for an electromagnetic field if including magnetic charge

Recently, I try to write an action of an electromagnetic field with magnetic charge and quantize it. But it seems not as easy as it seems to be. Does anyone know anything or think of anything like ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
939 views

What are the differences between the differential and integral forms of (e.g. Maxwell's) equations?

I would like to understand what has to be differential and integral form of the same function, for example the famous equations of James Clerk Maxwell: How to know where to apply each way? Excuse ...
14
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3answers
1k 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?
9
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5answers
49k 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 non-...
9
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3answers
384 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 ...
8
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2answers
1k 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 ...
6
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5answers
5k views

Is there a travelling speed of for electric field? If yes, what is it?

Consider two circuits containing a battery, bulb, switch and conducting wires but of length 1 meter in one case and 1000KM in other. When switched on at the same time both the bulbs glow ...
6
votes
1answer
772 views

Is there something like the Poynting vector for hydraulic circuits?

The Poynting vector is a representation of the energy flux in electromagnetics, showing the amount and direction of power flow at different points in space. In electric circuits, the energy is not ...
4
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5answers
2k 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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1answer
1k views

Two electron beams exert different forces on each other depending on frame of reference?

I am sure there is a simple explanation for my confusion, but I am a little puzzled: We are dealing with two parallel electron cannons that each produces a straight beam of electrons. They are placed ...
2
votes
4answers
2k 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. ...
-2
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3answers
628 views

Why do electrons and positrons exhibit opposite helical motion in a magnetic field?

When you throw an electron through a solenoid, it moves helically around the field lines, as per this schoolphysics illustration: © Keith Gibbs 2013 Then if we were to throw a positron through the ...
5
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5answers
14k views

Understanding the relationship between electricity and magnetism

I keep on hearing that magnetism is just another form of electricity and vice versa. If that's the case why can't we use magnets as batteries, and why aren't my batteries magnetic?
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Method of calculating eddy currents of a conductor, is this correct?

I have a conductor with volume $V$, passing a magnetic field($B$) with velocity($v$): I'm trying to calculate the Eddy currents to figure out the magnitude of the drag force($F_d$) generated the ...
5
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5answers
5k views

What voltages are used to “safely” shock someone (as in a carnival game)

I've had this debate with some coworks. What voltage (rough order of magnitute) is used to safely shock people? "Safe" is a vague term, but as an example, there are arcade games where you hold onto ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Does light induce an electric current in a conductor?

I know that electromagnetic waves induce electric currents in conductors and that's the basis for radio, wi-fi etc. I also know that light is also an electromagnetic wave. So, can light induce a ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Does existence of magnetic monopole break covariant form of Maxwell’s equations for potentials?

Absence of magnetic charges is reflected in one of Maxwell's fundamental equations: $$\operatorname{div} \vec B = 0 \text{ (1).}$$ This equation allows us to introducte concept of vector potential: $$...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

The relation between Gauss's law and Coulomb law and why is it important that the electric field decrease proportionally to $\frac{1}{r^{2}}$?

My question relates to the third MIT's video lecture about Electricity and Magnetism, specifically from $21:18-22:00$ : http://youtu.be/XaaP1bWFjDA?t=21m18s I have watched the development of Gauss's ...
3
votes
2answers
519 views

What is the physical significance of the Dipole Transformation of Maxwell's Equations?

The Question Given Maxwell's equations of the form \begin{align} \bar{\nabla}\times \bar{B} = \dfrac{4\pi}{c} \bar{J} + \partial_0 \bar{E} \\ \bar{\nabla}\times \bar{E} = -\partial_0 \bar{B} \\ \bar{...
3
votes
1answer
354 views

How can radiation be a transverse wave? Does light really resemble a rope? How can a 3D field be a medium for non-spatial 1D waves? Need mental model

I understand longitudinal waves. For example, I've got a clear mental modal of air waves: a slice of air becomes overcompressed, then the slice next to it becomes overcompressed and the first slice ...
3
votes
1answer
223 views

CGS Units for Magnetism

Why does the formula for magnetic field force include the speed of light in the denominator in cgs units? Where does the extra $c$ go in SI units?
3
votes
2answers
118 views

Electric Field “at” the surface of a conductor

It has been pointed out to me that the Electric field exactly on the surface of the conductor is conventionally taken to be $E=\frac{\sigma}{2\epsilon_0}$; does this come from taking the midpoint of ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Is the canonical momentum conserved when a particle moves in magnetic field?

Here is a question about the canonical momentum that I had asked some days ago, but I still have one point that I am not understand. Considering a particle moves in a magnetic field with charge $q$ ...
2
votes
2answers
577 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
526 views

Electrodynamics and the Lagrangian density

Could anyone tell me what equations can I obtain from the Lagrangian density $${\cal L}(\phi,\,\,\phi_{,i},\,\,A_i, \dot A_i,\,\,A_{i,j})~=~\frac{1}{2}|\dot A+\nabla\phi|^2-\frac{1}{2}|\nabla \times ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

What prevents an atom's electrons from “collapsing” onto its protons? [duplicate]

Forgive me if the answer to this is obvious. I have no formal physics training, and I remember that when I asked my physics teacher this, she just frowned and said "Good question." An electron is ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Understanding the Seebeck effect

Thermoelectricity is, as I understand it, the difference in voltage between the hot and cold ends of two dissimilar materials. If two materials are connected at two different junctions, the hot ...
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5answers
1k views

What is divergence?

What is divergence? I was learning about Maxwells equations and don't understand the divergence part of it. Can someone give an intuition of what divergence is in relation to maxwells equation. To ...
1
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3answers
6k views

How do I calculate the power consumed by a lightbulb?

I'm studying a lightbulb and its variable resistance, given by the expression: $R(T) = Ro[1 + α(T-T_0)]$, where $R_0$ is the resistance of the lamp at $T_0$. In this case, $R$ is not given by Ohm's ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

what is the specific cause of permanent magnetism [duplicate]

Why can't we answer this simple question? Where does the magnetic field of a permanent magnet come from? What is different about a magnetizable atom that allows it? Why is it perpetual? Or is it ...
-24
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4answers
2k views

Do We Need Maxwell's Equations Since They Fail to Account for An Experimental Fact at Least in One Occasion?

This question is an outgrowth of What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? where @sb1 mentioned Faraday's law. However, ...