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 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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357 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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3k views

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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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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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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How to interpret the magnetic vector potential?

In electromagnetism, we can re-write the electric field in terms of the electric scalar potential, and the magnetic vector potential. That is: $E = -\nabla\phi - \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}$, ...
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207 views

Is the magnetic field of a white-dwarf merely residual?

Follow-up to my other question How does Sol's magnetic field continue to exist at such high temperatures? Assuming Sol's magnetic field is generated by convective currents in it's plasma, how is ...
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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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791 views

why dosen't a charged particle radiate energy in circular motion in a uniform magnetic field?

I have studied in my Physics course that one of the drawbacks of Rutherford's atomic model was that when an electron will revolve around the nucleus, it is undergoing acceleration and so it should ...
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716 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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369 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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209 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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339 views

Forces as One-Forms and Magnetism

Well, some time ago I've asked here if we should consider representing forces by one-forms. Indeed the idea as, we work with a manifold $M$ and we represent a force by some one-form $F \in ...
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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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235 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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573 views

Has The Aharonov-Bohm Effect Been Experimentally Proven?

I have encountered two contradicting papers on the Aharonov-Bohm Effect: One supporting, The Aharonov-Bohm Effects: Variations on a Subtle Theme. H Batelaan and A Tonomura. Physics Today 62 pp. ...
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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: ...
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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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690 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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248 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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990 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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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} + ...
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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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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 ...
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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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Why is current a scalar quantity?

Current has both magnitude and direction. As per the definition of vector defined in encyclopedia, current should be a vector quantity. But, we know that current is a scalar quantity. What is the ...
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Are Classical Field Theory and Quantum Mechanics of a single particle (nonrelativistic or “classical”) limits of Quantum Field Theory?

Recently I talked about QFT with another physicist and mentioned that the Quantum Field Theory of a fermion is a quantisation of its one-particle quantum mechanical theory. He denied this and ...
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900 views

What does it mean when physical theories are inconsistent?

I am hoping that someone can explain in layman terms why Newtonian mechanics and Maxwell's equations are inconsistent. Wikipedia says that this inconsistency is what led to the development of ...
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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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Why the extra term $\frac{1}{2}(\partial_{\rho}A^{\rho})^2$ in the photon Lagrangian?

In my quantum field theory class we have been told to use this Lagrangian for the photon field $$\mathcal{L}=-\frac{1}{4}F_{\alpha\beta}F^{\alpha\beta} -\frac{1}{2}(\partial_{\rho}A^{\rho})^2.$$ but ...
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Would a magnet attract a paperclip indefinitely?

Let's say we have a magnet stuck to a metal bar, suspended above the ground. If I attach a paperclip to the magnet, where is the energy to hold the paperclip coming from (against the force of ...
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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 ...
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Can I levitate an object without using an electromagnet?

I know that it's possible to make an object levitate using an electromagnet to hold it up. But is it also possible to do this with regular magnets? Is there a special kind of magnet I need in order ...
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391 views

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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502 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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312 views

Is the concept of a field necessary to electrodynamics?

I've read (in Griffith's text) that it is "possible, though cumbersome" to dispense with the field concept in electrodynamics entirely and instead use an action-at-a-distance theory. What exactly is ...
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121 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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216 views

Does a radio receiver add a load to the transmitter?

If I have a dynamo connected to a switch and a load (such as a light bulb), the load on the dynamo is increased when the switch is closed and the light comes on. The dynamo gets harder to turn. Is ...
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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?
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Is it possible to kill a human with a powerful magnet?

I'm asking in terms of physics. Can powerful magnetic induction rearrange spins of my body in such way I will die? How? Or maybe it can rip all iron from me, which would make my blood cells useless? ...
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287 views

The gauge covariant derivative and its substitution

I was wondering wether it would make a difference (in general) if I were to were introduce the gauge covariant derivative $$D_\mu=\partial_\mu+ieA_\mu$$ In the Lagrangian density and then derive the ...
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261 views

What is the condition for accelerating charge to radiate?

I was always taught that any accelerating charge produces radiation, but I don't think this condition is sufficient condition. For instance, any free charge on Earth is accelerated due to Earth ...
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549 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 ...
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147 views

Torsion and gauge invariant EM kinetic term

Everytime I hear about adding torsion to GR, something struggles me: how do you create a kinetic term for the electromagnetic field that is still gauge-invariant? One of the consequences of torsion is ...
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695 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 ...