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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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. ...
7
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3answers
4k views

Is it safe to use any wireless device during a lightning storm?

I need "educated" reasons whether it is safe to use any wireless device during a lightning storm. Most people said don't use it but they cannot explain why.
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4answers
754 views

Influence of charged particle's own electric field on itself

I read this in my textbook: A charged particle or object is not affected by its own electric field. Since I find this completely unintuitive and my mind is yelling "wrong! wrong! how could a particle ...
6
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4answers
630 views

Least-action classical electrodynamics without potentials

Is it possible to formulate classical electrodynamics (in the sense of deriving Maxwell's equations) from a least-action principle, without the use of potentials? That is, is there a lagrangian which ...
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3answers
145 views

What would it take to cause lightning to jump between the Moon and the Earth?

This question comes from @Floris' speculation at the end of his excellent answer about what it would take to kill everyone on the Earth with electricity. Doing all this in 1/10th of a second ...
5
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4answers
2k views

Radio antennas that are much shorter than the wavelength

From my limited experience with ham radio when I was a kid, I expect transmitting and receiving antennas to have lengths that are on the same order of magnitude as the wavelength, and in fact I recall ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Effective aperture of isotropic antenna

I have always taken for granted that 'the aperture of a loss-less isotropic antenna is $\dfrac {\lambda^2} {4\pi}$'. On a whim, I tried to look up how this expression was derived, but so far I have ...
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1answer
162 views

Experiments looking for monopoles

Background: (skip it if you know it) In the easiest formulation of classical electromagnetism magnetic monopoles do not exist. In fact, the Maxwell's equation $\nabla \cdot \vec{B}=0$ implies (using ...
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4answers
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What are electromagnetic fields made of?

I am trying to understand electromagnetic fields so I have two question related to them. What is a electromagnetic field made of? Is it made of photons / virtual photons? How about a static electric ...
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2answers
871 views

Does a nonzero Poynting vector mean that there is propagation of energy?

I don't know how this "paradox" can be solved. I'm given the following system: A permanent magnet with a magnetic field given by ($\hat{a}$ are unit vectors in the x and y directions) ...
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2answers
367 views

Are gauge choices in electrodynamics really always possible?

If $B$ is magnetic field and $E$ electric Field, then $$B=\nabla\times A,$$ $$E= -\nabla V+\frac{\partial A}{\partial t}.$$ There is Gauge invariance for the trnasformation $$A'\rightarrow ...
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1answer
60 views

Induced magnetic field produces electric field and vice versa forever!

So here are the two of Maxwell's laws that I am interested in: So we have the simple circuit (from google): So, before the system goes into steady-state we know that charge slowly accumulates on ...
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5answers
121 views

Can a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) cause a blackout on Earth and why?

Can a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) cause a blackout on Earth and why is it so what's the relation between electro magnetic radiations and electrical and electronic appliance.what exactly does it do to ...
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3answers
1k views

Is it possible/correct to describe electromagnetism using curved space(-time)? [duplicate]

Comparing the simples form of the forces of both phenomena: the law of Newton for gravitation $V\propto \frac{1}{r}$, and the Coulomb law for electrostatics $V\propto \frac{1}{r}$, one might think ...
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0answers
88 views

Electric and magnetic field in a black hole

I have many questions about this topic: Does the electric field of a charged black hole look like this? I mean how can it have an electric field if nothing can escape from a black hole, and what is ...
2
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3answers
374 views

Why can't electrons fall into the nucleus?

I read a book on pop sci book on quantum mechanics and the author said that electrons do not fall into the nucleus due to quantum mechanics- which principles suggest this (I think it was Heisenberg's ...
2
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1answer
120 views

Does there exist electric field around all the substances?

A system of two equal and opposite charges separated by a certain distance is called an electric dipole. Electric dipole moment ($p$) is defined as the product of either charge ($q$) and the ...
2
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1answer
302 views

What limits the maximum sustainable surface charge density of a sphere in space?

Suppose I charge a sphere and leave it in vacuum for 10 years. After that time, I want its surface charge density to be in the order of 10^5C/m^2. Would that be possible? Would it depend on the ...
2
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1answer
461 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 ...
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5answers
345 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 ...
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1answer
673 views

Would two Neodymium magnets stick together with twice the power?

Assume I use a coil to create B-flux and put ONE Neodymium cylinder magnet (1" diameter & 0.25" thick) close to the flux, it would create 10 lbs of force. Does that mean that putting TWO cylinder ...
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3answers
3k views

Prove EM Waves Are Transverse In Nature

Why we say that EM waves are transverse in nature? I have seen some proofs regarding my question but they all calculate flux through imaginary cube. Here is My REAL problem that I can't here imagine ...
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1answer
438 views

Gauge theory in classical electromagnetism

I understand gauge theory as the theory of continuous transformation group which keeps Lagrangian (or dynamics) invariant. So some integral invariants could be found. In terms of classical ...
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2answers
408 views

What is an “inclined magnetic field”?

What is meant by an "inclined magnetic field"? How is it different from the usual magnetic field?
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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2answers
112 views

Is neutron decay a purely electromagnetic phenomena?

Until reading the Phys.SE post here about the neutron decay I never feel strange the fact about the antisymmetricity of this decay. But indeed why this decay is antisymmetric. The neutron is his own ...
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4answers
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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, ...
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1answer
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Can you magnetize iron with a hammer?

We know that a piece of ferromagnet, such as iron, can be magnetized by putting in a strong magnetic field to get domains parallel to the field grow. I also remember from pop. culture and MacGyver ...
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2answers
262 views

Time dilation only on electromagnetic force?

We've seen by experiment that the speed of light c appears to be constant for each observer (leading to all well-known consequences of relativity). I'm wondering if this appearance of constancy of c ...
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4answers
2k views

Why is the Principle of Superposition true in EM? Does it hold more generally?

In the theory of electromagnetism (EM), why is the principle of superposition true? Can we read it off from Maxwell's equations directly? Does it have any limit of applicability or is it a ...
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3answers
686 views

Lorentz force in Dirac theory and its classical limit

It is well known that in Dirac theory the time derivative of $P_i=p_i+A_i$ operator (where $p_i=∂/∂_i$, $A_i$ - EM field vector potential) is an analogue of the Lorentz force: $\frac{dP_i}{dt} = ...
6
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1answer
1k views

What are the characteristics of the magnetic field surrounding a human brain?

The human brain is said to produce a magnetic field resulting from the action potentials released inside the brain. What's the nature of such a field in terms of size and strength, and what is the ...
6
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2answers
461 views

What's a good reference for the electrodynamics of moving media?

The answer to a previous question suggests that a moving, permanently magnetized material has an effective electric polarization $\vec{v}\times\vec{M}$. This is easy to check in the case of ...
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1answer
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Is the force carrier of the magnetism in a common household magnet a photon?

As I have understood it, the Standard Model includes particles that carry the different forces, e.g. the electromagnetic (EM) force, the gravitational (G) force. When talking about EM fields such as ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the meaning of this “let there be light” joke?

A middle school teacher across the restaurant is wearing this shirt, and I certainly don't get it.
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1answer
1k views

Magnetic field insulators

I was wondering if there is any way to stop the magnetic field, without having the insulator turned into magnet. Let me present this as a simple case, there is a magnet to the left and a piece of iron ...
4
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2answers
186 views

Is manufacturing roughness really the only reason we don't see optical interference in thick dielectrics like windows?

I had always kind of wondered why we didn't see interference in things like windows -- we were taught that the condition is that the thickness of the film/slab/medium just has to be an integral number ...
4
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1answer
338 views

Coulomb interaction as virtual particles exchange?

I've been reading about virtual particle exchanges in physics books and in Physics SA posts, where a particle interpretation of gravity and Coulomb interaction is established. The Feynman Diagram ...
4
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1answer
2k views

What are the limits of applicability of Coulomb's Law?

Coulomb's law is formally parallel to Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, which is known to give way to General Relativity for very large masses. Does Coulomb's Law have any similar limits of ...
4
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1answer
244 views

Naive Question About Batteries

I do apologize for the ignorance that I'm sure is imbedded in this question, but I'd like to understand the exact point at which the following argument goes wrong: 1) A battery (let's say an ...
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1answer
5k views

How to debunk 'The Electric Universe'?

My father is a generally intelligent person, however he has latched onto a theory which I believe to be completely incorrect. He doesn't believe in gravity, but rather subscribes to an 'Electrical ...
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1answer
882 views

What is the direction of the induced E field from a changing uniform magnetic field?

If a stationary charge is placed in a changing uniform magnetic field to measure the induced E field at some point, what would be the direction of E? I think E must equal zero normal to B to maintain ...
3
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2answers
733 views

Why doesn't the magnetic field polarize when polarizing light?

If the magnetic field doesn't polarize does it follow the electric field path of propagation? or does it vanish?
3
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0answers
127 views

Can the two electromagnetic field tensors be combined into a more general tensor?

Given the electromagnetic field tensor $$\begin{align} F_{\mu\nu} = \begin{pmatrix} 0 & -E_{x} & -E_{y} & -E_{z} \\ E_{x} & 0 & B_{z} & -B_{y} \\ E_{y} & -B_{z} & 0 ...
3
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2answers
182 views

Geodesic for Electromagnetic forces

Considering the fact that electrons tend to take the maximum conductance path to flow from A to B. This is justified by saying that $\vec{E}$ is larger in conductors. But once similarly it was thought ...
3
votes
2answers
297 views

Coincidence, purposeful definition, or something else in formulas for energy

In the small amount of physics that I have learned thus far, there seems to be a (possibly superficial pattern) that I have been wondering about. The formula for the kinetic energy of a moving ...
3
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3answers
7k views

The relation between permittivity and conductivity

I am able to measure relative permittivity $\varepsilon_r$ of a fluid, and I want to calculate conductivity of same fluid. Can anyone suggest me how to do this? I found one formula to calculate ...
3
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1answer
4k views

Charge inside conductor

I know that the E field inside a conductor is zero. What happens if I put a source of charge inside the conductor? Say the conductor was spherical centered on the origin and there exists a charge at ...
3
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1answer
167 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?
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4answers
2k views

How to make something charged using electricity?

If I had a piece of metal and i wanted it to be negatively charged. How can I do that?