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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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?
7
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4answers
4k 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 ...
6
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2answers
3k views

Why does electromagnetic induction actually occur?

In my book, it is written that "An emf is induced in a loop when the number of magnetic field lines that pass through the loop is changing" (Faraday's law) I understand that whenever there is a ...
6
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1answer
1k 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, ...
5
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1answer
602 views

Is there a Hamiltonian for the (classical) electromagnetic field? If so, how can it be derived from the Lagrangian?

The classical Lagrangian for the electromagnetic field is $$\mathcal{L} = -\frac{1}{4\mu_0} F^{\mu \nu} F_{\mu \nu} - J^\mu A_\mu.$$ Is there also a Hamiltonian? If so, how to derive it? I know how ...
5
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3answers
11k views

What does this quote about the four dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric tensor mean?

In the beginning, God said that the four dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric second rank tensor equals zero and there was light. Can someone explain what is the meaning of this quote by ...
5
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4answers
6k views

Confusion between Electric field and Magnetic field of a charged particle.

Consider a charged particle (electron or proton) at rest. It is surrounded by its own electric field. Now consider an electron moving with certain velocity (less than speed of light), Still is there ...
4
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5answers
195 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 ...
4
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3answers
501 views

How to understand “accelerating charge radiate” using intuition? [duplicate]

While I know that accelerating charges produces EM radiations (at least in lots of cases), most discussion about this matter only focuses on which kind of situation will emit EM radiations and which ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Which mathematical operation does the right hand rule for current come from?

I am currently wondering about this famous rule: Where does it come from mathematically that when you point with your thumb in the direction of the current, your curved fingers will point in the ...
4
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2answers
7k views

What is the difference between Biot-Savart law and Ampere's law?

What is the difference between these laws? Which law is more useful? When to use Ampere's law and when to use Biot-Savart law?
4
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3answers
598 views

The magnetic field of a magnetic monopole

Let us define the magnetic field $$\vec{B} = g\frac{\vec{r}}{r^3}$$ for some constant $g$. How can we show that the divergence of this field correspond to the charge distribution of a single magnetic ...
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3answers
3k views

Why does light in a room not form constructive and destructive interference patterns?

This is something that I have wondered for a long time. How come when I walk around why do I not see random black spots where light has collided destructively and bright spots where it has collided ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the physical process (if any) behind magnetic attraction?

I understand that the electromagnetic force can be described as the exchange of virtual photons. I also understand that it's possible for virtual photons, unlike their real counterparts, to have mass ...
3
votes
3answers
121 views

Does waving a magnet around create light?

If I wave around a bar magnet, the magnetic field in the space around it changes. Is this enough to go through the whole speed of light derivation implying that the motion creates an electromagnetic ...
3
votes
2answers
108 views

What happens when a field turns on or off?

Short Setup I am curious about the the mechanics of fields, whether electromagnetic, gravitational, etc. So as a specific example in order to simplify (hopefully) how to ask this question, consider ...
3
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5answers
641 views

Why doesn't this perpetual motion machine work?

Imagine a non-magnetic tube bent into the shape of a triangle, with two sides forming downhill ramps, and the third side connecting the two ramps. Through this tube travels a metal ball, which is ...
3
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2answers
4k views

Electric field and electric potential of a point charge in 2D and 1D

in 3D, electric field of a piont charge is inversely proportional to the square of distance while the potential is inversely proportional to distance. We can derive it from Coulomb's law. however, I ...
3
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2answers
409 views

Does constraint for speed of Electric and magnetic fields violates Conservation of momentum or Newton's third law?

I'm just a beginner so bear with me. Consider two frames at rest wrt to each other separated by distance enough for light to take a minute or so. At a given instant we create two large dipoles by some ...
2
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3answers
2k views

Exciting Surface Plasmon-Polaritons with Grating Coupling

I'm very new the topic of SPPs and have been trying to understand this particular method of exciting surface plasmons using a 1D periodic grating of grooves, with distance $a$ between each groove. If ...
1
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1answer
262 views

Electrons and Magnetism

Electron at rest generates Electric field. Electron moving without acceleration produces electric and magnetic field. Electron moving with acceleration produces electromagnetic waves. Please explain ...
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3answers
655 views

Protons and Electrons Occupying the Same Space

When it comes to atoms electrons can't fall into the nucleus, which besides the off hand uncertainty explanation, I'm not sure which force prevents them from falling into the nucleus. I thought I ...
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2answers
8k views

Derivation of the Biot-Savart Law [duplicate]

Can someone provide a derivation of the Biot-Savart law for electromagnetic induction? To be clear, $$ d\vec{B}~=~\frac{\mu_0}{4\pi}\frac{I d\vec{\ell}\times \vec{r}}{r^3}. $$ Is there a simple way ...
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3answers
423 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 ...
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6answers
1k views

Are metals more heavy due to the Earth's magnetic field?

Non-metal objects are attracted to the Earth due to gravity. So the weight of non-metal objects can be only dependent on their mass. On the other hand metals can be attracted to the Earth's magnetic ...
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5answers
3k views

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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2answers
918 views

Einstein Field Equations and Electromagnetic Stress-Energy Tensor

My question is: if we write Einstein field equations in this form: $$R_{\mu\nu} - \dfrac{1}{2}g_{\mu\nu}R=8\pi \dfrac{G}{c^4}T_{\mu\nu}$$ Then the left hand side is one statement about the geometry ...
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3answers
8k 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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7answers
4k views

Bar magnet dropped through coil

If you have drop a bar magnet through a coil so that it goes all the way through I was told the graph of emf induced in the coil vs time looks something like this: (emf induced is on y axis, time ...
6
votes
3answers
221 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 ...
6
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4answers
751 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
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1answer
390 views

What are the proposed theoretical explanations for the EmDrive?

The EmDrive is a proposed propulsion mechanism for spacecraft in which some form of microwave device provides the propulsion. The consensus from the physics community, including many voices on this ...
4
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1answer
194 views

Faraday cage in real life

In electrical engineering we talk about using a "Faraday Cage" all the time. In general we mean putting the circuit in a metal box and grounding it, or putting a EMI shield over the top of a chip. ...
4
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1answer
188 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Can extra-solar gamma rays reach the Earth's surface?

Can gamma rays of high enough energy entering our planet's atmosphere reach the surface (50% probability)? Or, in other words, is there a window for extremely high-energy gamma rays like for the ...
3
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2answers
112 views

Could some astronomical objects have superconducting properties?

The colder it is, the more efficient the superconductivity process works. And as we know, if there is no star nearby, space gets pretty cold. I do appreciate that many condensed, burnt out, stars ...
3
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2answers
301 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
1answer
3k views

Magnetic field strength in a solenoid

I'm pretty new to physics. I've been conducting some experiments with electromagnets. My practical results don't match up with the theory. The magnetic field in a solenoid of length $L$ around an ...
3
votes
0answers
698 views

Is Electromagnetic Mass Possible?

If the sinusoidal electric component of a light wave were off-set to one side of the magnetic component and then the smaller "lobe" were to cancel out with much of the larger side, then where would ...
3
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
2
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2answers
235 views

Is the wobbly rope depiction of a radio wave inherently wrong? And how do vectors of parallel waves align with each other?

I don't have a scientific education, yet I'm scientifically curious. Among other things, I'm struggling to understand the nature of electromagnetic waves. What I have recently realized is that the ...
2
votes
1answer
202 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
301 views

Force between two finite parallel current carrying wires

Remark: This is not a homework question...It is pure out of theoretical interest. I asked this the mathematics-community a couple days ago and got no answer, so I figured I'd try here. Most standard ...
2
votes
0answers
121 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
votes
1answer
423 views

Is every electromagnetic radiation considered “light”?

Somebody mentioned on Freenode chatroom for physics that All Electromagnetic Radiation are delivered in form of Photons not just light. Is it true? Does that mean if we get a THF electrical ...
2
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1answer
184 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
483 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 ...
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2answers
96 views

Obtaining electric field of an uniformly charged sphere surface without using gauss law [closed]

How can i obtain the electric field due to a uniformly charged sphere surface without using gauss law on a point outside the sphere, im stuck not knowing what infinitesimal surface i shall consider so ...
1
vote
5answers
928 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 ...