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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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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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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640 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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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 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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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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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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648 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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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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809 views

How can I explain or demonstrate the Lorentz Force to a 12 year old?

I'm a space physicist. I've been working with a group of school students (aged between around 10 and 12) exploring the Sun, the Earth and the solar system. We've talked about some basics of magnetism ...
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489 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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267 views

Is the electromagnetic mass real?

In his Lectures on Physics vol II Ch.28-2 Feynman calculates the field momentum of a moving charged sphere with charge $q$, radius $a$ and velocity $\mathbf{v}$. He finds that the total momentum in ...
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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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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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356 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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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600 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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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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143 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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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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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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615 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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245 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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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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270 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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692 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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763 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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Does a material exist that reduces a magnetic field without being affected by the magnetic field itself?

Consider a common bar magnet, magnet 1 resting on a surface with its North pole facing up. Suspended distance $y$ above it ...
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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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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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Why are permanent magnets permanent?

Let me see if I get it right. When an iron bar is attracted by a permanent magnet it becomes a magnet itself because all of its magnetic domains start to point in the same direction. When the iron bar ...
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536 views

The Aharonov-Bohm effect is purely classical, right?

Every discussion I've ever seen of the Aharonov-Bohm effect makes a big deal of its being a quantum effect with no classical analogue. But as far as I can tell it is present already at the classical ...
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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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Intuitive definition of electromagnetic field

I am curious about the following: Checking about what is an EM field in wiki it says: An electromagnetic field (also EMF or EM field) is a physical field produced by electrically charged ...
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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 ...