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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Repulsion of the pieces of a broken magnet [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why does it seem like a broken magnet's poles flip? I have experienced that if we break a bar magnet into two pieces and try to bring those broken faces together it ...
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1answer
2k views

Electrodynamics textbooks that emphasize applications

Please recommend undergraduate-level textbooks on electrodynamics which emphasize practical applications and real life examples. Please describe the book's level and contents and its intended audience ...
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179 views

Should $E$ and $B$ change with Gravity?

Lets examine a typical GR metric: $$ds^2=g_{00}dt^2-g_{11}dx^2-g_{22}dy^2-g_{33}dz^2$$ The "d" going with ds has its correct meaning when the path is specified with respect to a one dimensional ...
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191 views

Is the magnetic field a feature of our universe, or is it a consequence of the electric field?

Is the magnetic field a feature of our universe, or is it a side effect of the electric field? In other words: if we were to simulate in a computer a system of moving charged particles, taking in ...
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764 views

Is photon emission possible without electrons changing energy levels?

Does molecular vibrational transition and consequent emission of infrared radiation involve electrons changing energy level? In wikipedia, about vibronic transitions it says "Most processes leading to ...
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1answer
656 views

Potential of a spherical conductor next to a point charge

Griffiths, when he's talking about the method of images, shows how to calculate the potential distribution when given a point charge that is outside of a spherical conductor which is held at a fixed ...
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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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2answers
1k views

How are magnetic fields transmitted?

A common analogy for gravity is the ball-on-a-rubber-sheet model. In this model, mass distorts spacetime and creates a 'valley' into which other mass can fall. Is this same principal valid for ...
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424 views

Orientation of Magnetic Dipoles

Does a magnetic dipole (in a permanent magnet) tend to align with the B-field or with the H-field? The current loop (Ampère) model of the magnetic dipole suggests the former, while the ...
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1k views

Energy in an EM wave should depend on frequency

I just finished reading Feynman's Lectures on Physics vol.I, §34-9: "The momentum of light". The author explains that there is a relation between the wave 4-vector $k^{\mu}$ and the energy-momentum ...
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467 views

Gauss' law - changes in the magnitude of E field inside the closed surface

Gauss's law says that the flux through a closed surface which contains neither a sink nor a source will be zero. It's quite clear that all field lines will have to exit somehow, but the strength of ...
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473 views

Is there any idea why the electric charges of electron and muon are equal?

Is there any idea explaining why the electric charges of electron and muon are equal? Edit: The total charge of a particle is proportional to the integral of its own electric field flow through the ...
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Why do we need 12 atoms to store 1 bit of data?

Recent research at IBM has found a way to store 1 bit of data in 12 atoms. While that is a big accomplishment compared to what we have today, it does seem like a waste to a non-physics eye like me. ...
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4answers
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Understanding the diagrams of electromagnetic waves

I'm having trouble understanding the diagrams of elctromagnetic waves. I have no problem with any concept in classical mechanics, and I think this can be answered without any relativity (which I ...
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4answers
855 views

What is the physical definition of causality?

Maxwell's equations give a physical relationship between the electric and magnetic fields $\vec E$, $\vec B$ at the same time, which some interpret as changes in one causes changes in the other etc. I ...
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1answer
2k views

What happens if I crush a neodymium magnet into powder?

There are a couple questions here. Will it retain its magnetism? Can I add the powder to the iron powder currently in my "magnetic" silly putty to make it truly magnetic? And finally, how best do I ...
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1answer
303 views

Complex Potentials, Potentials and Fields

Suppose an electric field $E=-\nabla \psi$ where $\psi=-Q\ln r$ where $Q$ is just some constant and I have found its harmonic conjugate to be $-Q\theta+c$ where $c$ is some constant. What does it say ...
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2answers
3k views

Why can't electromagnetic radiation from magnets be used for apparent perpetual motion?

If electromagnetic radiation represents a transfer of energy, then does a permanent magnet represent unlimited energy, and if so, why can't magnets be used for perpetual motion? Even if permanent ...
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1k views

How to calculate the force acting on a magnet placed in a magnetic field?

The force on a small element (of length dl) of a current carrying wire, place in a magnetic field B can be calculated using the following equation (which is simply an application of the Lorentz force ...
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1answer
9k views

What is the difference between a Rodin coil and a Rodin starship?

I've seen various designs for Rodin coil and a 'Rodin starship'? Are these just regular electromagnets? Or something different? How do they differ from regular electromagnets?
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318 views

Is there a readily available (or at least not theoretical) material that reflects only infrared light?

By way of context, please picture those little motion capture lights that are put over an actors body. I am interested in finding out if there is some kind of material that can do the same thing but ...
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2answers
1k views

How to calculate the electric field at a point in space

Let's say I have a uniformly-charged wire bent into a semi-circle around the origin. How can I find the electric field (magnitude and direction) I'm not even sure if I should use Coulomb's or Gauss' ...
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1k views

Where does the energy come from when a current heats a wire (resistor)?

I'm trying to figure out an example from a textbook (Demtröder -- Experimentalphysik 2, pg. 198) where the energy transport caused by a current is depicted: Assume you have a wire (with some ...
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2answers
1k views

Does a charging capacitor emit an electromagnetic wave?

Assume you charge a (parallel plate) capacitor. This establishes an electric field (the $\mathbf E$ vector points from one plate to the other) and a circular magnetic field (the $\mathbf B$ vector ...
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Electric field due to nonconducting plastic sheets [closed]

Two very large, nonconducting plastic sheets, each 10.0 cm thick, carry uniform charge densities $\sigma_1, \sigma_2, \sigma_3$ and $\sigma_4$ on their surfaces (the four surfaces are in the ...
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8answers
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Do Maxwell's Equations overdetermine the electric and magnetic fields?

Maxwell's equations specify two vector and two scalar (differential) equations. That implies 8 components in the equations. But between vector fields $\vec{E}=(E_x,E_y,E_z)$ and ...
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0answers
307 views

How to find the electric field at a point based on a uniformly charged surface

What is the general solution to finding the electric field at a point based on some (or multiple) charged surfaces. I know that we can perform a line/surface integral if a charge is close to a wire or ...
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2answers
2k views

Relation between wavenumber and propagation constant

What is the exact difference between wavenumber and propagation constant in an electromagnetic wave propagating in a medium such as a transmission line, cause i am a bit confused. Does it have to do ...
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1answer
86 views

Close electric field lines in wave guides

In a wave guide, graphics of propagation of Transversal Magnetic modes show closed field lines for the electric field. For example, for a rectangular guide: $E_x (x,y,z) = \frac {-j\beta m \pi}{a ...
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1answer
198 views

For someone who only studied electromagnetism, what is the modern way to explain electromagnetic fields?

After reading most of the electromagnetism chapters of Feynman's lectures on physics, I would like to understand in more detail, at least an idea, of what causes the electromagnetic fields. Not sure ...
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3answers
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Using A.C or D.C to create an electromagnet

Does it matter if I use A.C or D.C as a source to create an electromagnet? Or Does it depend on the voltage of current? For example: I have a coil which has about 50 turns. If I use same amount of ...
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1answer
151 views

How can there be a path to ground with thick shoes and a carpet?

I'm connecting a test light to one pin of an halogen lamp. When I touch the metallic part on the back of the test light, the light glows, as it is supposed to. However, I have thick shoes and I am ...
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1answer
171 views

Where does the photon's energy come from in X-ray bremsstrahlung?

In an X-ray tube, bremsstrahlung is generated by accelerating electrons toward a target metal. As a photon is emitted, something loses energy. I suppose that the target metal remains fixed and is ...
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248 views

Gauge invariance and Bohm-Aharonov effect

I am confused with the Bohm-Aharonov effect: though quantum mechanics is said to be gauge invariant, the presence of a solenoid imposes a gauge. I used to think that a phase shift did not change ...
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4answers
649 views

How is this classical “paradox” resolved in electromagnetism?

A magnet and a coil move relative to each other. In the frame of reference of the magnet, there is a magnetic field and consequently a force acting on the charges in the coil according to the Lorentz ...
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1answer
287 views

Do Maxwell’s Equations contain the Ideal Gas Law?

Maxwell’s Equations contain some other Laws as special cases. Does it possibly include the Ideal Gas Law as well? – the idea being that material substances can be modeled by appropriate subsets of the ...
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1answer
65 views

generation of arbitrary potentials

Suppose you have as many electrically charged particles as needed (even countably many) and consider the open unit ball centered at some point in space. For every continuous real valued function on ...
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2answers
662 views

Will Gauss's law still hold in case of deviation from inverse square law?

Assume a spherical metallic shell over which a charge $Q$ is distributed uniformly. Applying Gauss's law $\displaystyle\oint\textbf{E}\cdot d\textbf{a}=\frac{Q_{\text{enc.}}}{\epsilon_0}$ by ...
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2answers
151 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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1answer
766 views

Would the north poles of two magnets repel each other if a weaker south pole was inserted between them?

My son asked me this question and I was stumped - my intuition says that is the south pole was strong enough the attraction between the north and south poles would outweigh the repulsion between the ...
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1answer
712 views

Magnetization of coin on a railway track

The rumor was you could make a magnet by leaving a piece of iron on a train track. The train going over it would magnetize it. Is it true?
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3answers
241 views

How does one determine whether an object will make an EM wave refract in a qualitative way?

for example, i have a vague notion that the actual answer is that the permittivity and permisivity are different in each different material, so all waves refract at every boundary, but we only call it ...
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1answer
213 views

Violation of conservation of energy and potential energy between objects

I would like to clarify my question. I have numbered them to be independent questions For any conservative fields, $\vec{F} = -\nabla U$. Which means the restoring force is opposite to the ...
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3answers
3k views

Physical meaning of the energy density of an electrostatic field

I understand the physical meaning of electrostatic energy of a system of charges (or a distribution with given density) as the energy stored in the system while working to carry the charges from ...
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2answers
222 views

Why, intuitively, must a solution in physics be unique?

When solving Laplace's equation or Poisson's equation say, we require that the solution must be unique, which can be shown. In general, what is the physics behind seeking a unique solution? Are ...
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4answers
8k views

Understanding the relationship between electricity and magnetism

I keep on hearing that magnetism is just another form of electricity and vice versa. If that's the case why can't we use magnets as batteries, and why aren't my batteries magnetic?
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2answers
472 views

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux?

Which symmetry is associated with conservation of flux (e.g., in electromagnetism)? For example, when working with Gauss's law in electromagnetism, net flux through an arbitrary volume element ...
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237 views

What is the physical reason a $+5V$ equipotential coutour cannot intersect a $-5V$ equipotential coutour?

Now I've been told that equipotential contours with different values can never intersect. That is, if one level is 5V and one is -5V, they can't intersect. This make sense to me mathematically (one ...
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4answers
2k views

Is one way glass possible?

I am not talking about mirrors, just a plain window made of glass like material. Would it be possible to allow light pass only in one direction but not the other?
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2answers
515 views

Why do physicists believe protons and electrons are present in equal numbers?

I tended to consider that negative and positive charges are present in equal numbers in the universe to be a known, obvious fact. But is it so? How can we rule out the possibility that there is some ...