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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

7
votes
1answer
171 views

Materials with different gravitomagnetic permeability?

If you start with general relativity, and assume small perturbations around a nearly flat metric, it is possible to obtain linearized equations of gravity that look a lot like Maxwell's equations, ...
7
votes
0answers
257 views

1-form formulation of quantized electromagnetism

In a perpetual round of reformulations, I've put quantized electromagnetism into a 1-form notation. I'm looking for references that do anything similar, both to avoid reinventing the wheel and perhaps ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Do mirrors increase the amount of light in a room?

So if you have a light bulb in a room, and you had a tool to measure the amount of light that's in the room, then let's assume the amount of light only caused by the bulb is "1" If you place a mirror ...
6
votes
3answers
980 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} + ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Derivation of Maxwell's equations from field tensor lagrangian

I've started reading Peskin and Schroeder on my own time, and I'm a bit confused about how to obtain Maxwell's equations from the (source-free) lagrangian density $L = ...
6
votes
3answers
322 views

Can one assign an equivalence principle of some kind to the EM field?

Introduction: Consider the EM field. There was a time when the field was defined in a similar manner to that of the gravitational field. This changed when the view on gravitation evolved to this ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does it seem like a broken magnet's poles flip?

I just took a rare earth magnet out of an old hard drive. Lacking an appropriate screwdriver, force was used, and the magnet broke into two pieces; one about a quarter of the original size and one ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Derivation of self-inductance of a long wire

Currently I am stuck, trying to derive the self-inductance of a long wire. According to literature it should be $$L=\frac{\mu_r\mu_0l}{8\pi}$$ and in literature its derived by looking at the energy ...
6
votes
3answers
509 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
votes
2answers
543 views

Modified Maxwell's equations

In 1985, Harmuth wrote that Maxwell's equations are incompatible with causality, and overcame the problem by adding a term for magnetic dipole currents, and as a consequence the problem of infinite ...
6
votes
4answers
884 views

How is wireless communication possible?

Like all my questions, I fear this will be very naive, because my physics background is very limited. Please bear with me. I think of the electromagnetic field as a section of a vector bundle over ...
6
votes
3answers
415 views

Charging a black hole?

What would happen if we have a black hole and we start shooting at it a single electron at a time, and go on doing it forever? Would the electrons start to bounce off eventually?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Does magnetic propagation follow the speed of light?

Does magnetic propagation follow the speed of light? E.g. if you had some magnet of incredible strength and attached an iron wire that is one light year long to it, would the other end of the iron ...
6
votes
4answers
612 views

What is the current of a capacitor when the derivative of voltage is undefined?

This is from the textbook I am reading: I know this equation for capacitors: $$i=C\cdot \frac { dv }{ dt }$$ Here is my question: how can diagram (a) be allowed if the derivative of the voltage ...
6
votes
4answers
277 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
620 views

Interaction ranges in the Standard Model - Electrodynamics vs QCD

as you might know, the Standard Model of physics can be seen as a $U(1)\times SU(2)\times SU(3)$ gauge theory where each symmetry group accounts for different force fields. The behaviour for the ...
6
votes
1answer
857 views

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: $E = -\nabla\phi - \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}$, ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Darwin term and Zitterbewegung

I've noticed that in the discussion of the fine structure of Hydrogen atom standard QM texts claim that the Darwin term, which corrects energy of $\ell=0$ (or $s$-) states only, is related to the ...
6
votes
6answers
12k views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
406 views

Does bunching reduce synchrotron radiation?

A continuous charge distribution flowing as a constant current in a closed loop doesn't radiate. Is it therefore true that as you increase the number of proton bunches in the LHC, while keeping the ...
6
votes
3answers
281 views

Satellite Power

Electromagnetic induction is the production of voltage across a conductor moving through a magnetic field. Since an orbiting satellite is passing through the Earth's magnetic field would a voltage be ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does electricity need wires to flow?

If you drop a really heavy ball the ball's gravitational potential energy will turn into kinetic energy. If you place the same ball in the pool, the ball will still fall. A lot of kinetic energy will ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does the refractive index depend on wavelength? [duplicate]

Why do different wavelength get impeded more or less when in different materials? Moving with the same speed, but a longer physical distance would imply that the fields oscillate less times in the ...
6
votes
1answer
62 views

Is it possible to determine astronomically/astrophysically whether other planets have ever encountered polarity reversal?

We know of geomagnetic flip in Earth's history by studying geologic data. Given other planets in the system also possess a magnetic field leads to the assumption that such polarity reversal may not be ...
6
votes
5answers
20k views

Why a glass rod when rubbed with silk cloth aquire positive charge and not negative charge?

I have read many times in the topic of induction that a glass rod when rubbed against a silk cloth acquires a positive charge. Why does it acquire positive charge only, why not negative charge? It ...
6
votes
2answers
941 views

complex numbers in optics

I have recently studied optics. But I feel having missed something important: how can amplitudes of light waves be complex numbers? I suppose this is quite fundamental, but I do not find the answer ...
6
votes
1answer
303 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.
6
votes
2answers
172 views

The gauge covariant derivative and it's 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
301 views

Why is the Hodge dual so essential?

It seems unnatural to me that it is so often worthwhile to replace physical objects with their Hodge duals. For instance, if the magnetic field is properly thought of as a 2-form and the electric ...
6
votes
2answers
546 views

How does one show using QED that same/opposite electric charges repel/attract each other, respectively?

Why do same charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other (please explain the phenomenon using real laws of nature (QED) not with the approximation model)?
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Faraday's law - does the induced current's magnetic field affect the change in flux?

I've had this conceptual problem with Faraday's law and inductance for a while now. Take the example of a simple current loop with increasing area in a constant field (as in this answer). So ...
6
votes
2answers
129 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the relation between virtual photons and electromagnetic potentials?

Given that: 1) virtual photons mediate the electric and magnetic force fields 2) the magnetic field is the curl of the magnetic vector potential 3) the electric field is the negative gradient of ...
6
votes
2answers
513 views

Calculate the electric field of a moving infinite magnet, without boosting

Consider a rectangular slab of permanently magnetized material. The slab's dimensions are $L_x$, $L_y$, and $L_z$, and the slab is uniformly magnetized in the $\hat{x}$-direction. The slab is not ...
6
votes
3answers
316 views

Controllable faster-than-light phase velocity

This is not another question about faster-than-light travel or superluminal communication. I totally appreciate the speed limit capped by physical laws (or theories.) Just curious, since there is no ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Relativity and Current in Wire

If an observer is stationary relative to a current-carrying wire in which electrons are moving, why does the observer measure the density of moving electrons to be the same as the density of electrons ...
6
votes
3answers
278 views

Induced current using a reference system bound with a moving charge

Suppose we have a charge moving at velocity $\mathbf{v}$ in the same plane of a square wire. If I sit in a reference frame where the square wire is still, since the charge is moving with velocity ...
6
votes
2answers
141 views

Can the poles of a magnet have varying intensity?

In re-reading Is it possible to separate the poles of a magnet? (amongst others) the question mentioned in the title here just occurred to me. It may not be possible, at our current levels of ...
6
votes
2answers
393 views

What law of electro-magnetics explains this?

I took my son to a science museum where they had a solenoid oriented vertically with a plastic cylinder passing through the solenoid. An employee dropped an aluminum ring over the top of the cylinder ...
6
votes
3answers
477 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
844 views

Degeneracy Pressure, What is it?

There has been numerous question, some violent even in physics@SE regarding PEP and EM forces. But what baffles me is what is degeneracy pressure? I know there are 4 fundamental forces- EM, gravity, ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How do electrons “know” to share their voltage between two resistors?

My physics teacher explained the difference between voltage and current using sandwiches. Each person gets a bag full of sandwiches when they pass through the battery. Current = the number of people ...
6
votes
2answers
416 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
986 views

How does charge work if photons are neutral?

How can an electron distinguish between another electron and a positron? They use photons as exchange particles and photons are neutral, so how does it know to repel or attract?
6
votes
2answers
78 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?
6
votes
2answers
466 views

Vector Potential for Magnetic field when the field is not in simply-connected region

According to Poincare's Lemma, if $U\subset \mathbb{R}^n$ is a star-shaped set and if $\omega$ is a $k$-form defined in $U$ that is closed, then $\omega$ is exact, meaning that there's some ...
6
votes
3answers
573 views

How do I calculate electric fields due to currents of magnetic dipoles?

Short version of my question: Do dipole currents cause fields? I think currents of aligned magnetic dipoles cause an electric field, but I don't know how to calculate this field except in the ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

Can we write the electromagnetic potential covariantly in terms of the four-current?

In the Lorenz gauge, we have a beautiful relation between the four-current and the four-potential: $$\Box A^{\alpha} = \mu_0 J^{\alpha}$$ To get $A$ in terms of $J$, however, we have to use a ...
6
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...