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 is the mechanism behind the slowdown of light/photons in a transparent medium?

So light travels slower in glass (for example) than in a vacuum. What causes light to slow down? Or: How does it slow down? If light passes through the medium, is it not essentially traveling in the "...
31
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4answers
19k views

Why do electrons occupy the space around nuclei, and not collide with them?

We all learn in grade school that electrons are negatively-charged particles that inhabit the space around the nucleus of an atom, that protons are positively-charged and are embedded within the ...
73
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10answers
9k views

How can I stand on the ground? EM or/and Pauli?

There is this famous example about the order difference between gravitational force and EM force. All the gravitational force of Earth is just countered by the electromagnetic force between the ...
72
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6answers
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How do moving charges produce magnetic fields?

I'm tutoring high school students. I've always taught them that: A charged particle moving without acceleration produces an electric as well as a magnetic field. It produces an electric field ...
23
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5answers
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Phase shift of 180 degrees on reflection from optically denser medium

Can anyone please provide an intuitive explanation of why phase shift of 180 degrees occurs in the Electric Field of a EM wave,when reflected from an optically denser medium? I tried searching for it ...
51
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8answers
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How can Magnets be used to pick up pieces of metal when the force from a magnetic field does no work?

I learned that the force from magnetic fields does no work. However I was wondering how magnets can be used to pick up pieces of metal like small paperclips and stuff. I also was wondering how magnets ...
21
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3answers
6k views

The exchange of photons gives rise to the electromagnetic force

Pardon me for my stubborn classical/semiclassical brain. But I bet I am not the only one finding such description confusing. If EM force is caused by the exchange of photons, does that mean only when ...
69
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10answers
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Can Maxwell's equations be derived from Coulomb's Law and Special Relativity?

As an exercise I sat down and derived the magnetic field produced by moving charges for a few contrived situations. I started out with Coulomb's Law and Special Relativity. For example, I derived the ...
4
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1answer
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How is Gauss' Law (integral form) arrived at from Coulomb's Law, and how is the differential form arrived at from that?

On a similar note: when using Gauss' Law, do you even begin with Coulomb's law, or does one take it as given that flux is the surface integral of the Electric field in the direction of the normal to ...
25
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5answers
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How are forces “mediated”?

I hope this is the right word to use. To me, these forces seem kind of fanciful (except for General Relativity and Gravity, which have a geometric interpretation). For example, how do two charged ...
6
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2answers
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Noticing that Newtonian gravity and electrostatics are equivalent, is there also a relationship between the general relativity and electrodynamics?

In classical mechanics, we had Newton's law of gravity $F \propto \frac{Mm}{r^2}$. Because of this, all laws of classical electrostatics applied to classical gravity if we assumed that all charges ...
28
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7answers
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Is it theoretically possible to shield gravitational fields or waves?

Electromagnetic waves can be shielded by a perfect conductor. What about gravitational fields or waves?
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1answer
2k views

Noether theorem and classical proof of electric charge conservation

How to prove conservation of electric charge using Noether's theorem according to classical (non-quantum) mechanics? I know the proof based on using Klein–Gordon field, but that derivation use ...
45
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7answers
4k views

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 $\vec{B}=(B_x,B_y,B_z)$...
28
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10answers
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What equation describes the wavefunction of a single photon?

The Schrödinger equation describes the quantum mechanics of a single massive non-relativistic particle. The Dirac equation governs a single massive relativistic spin-½ particle. The photon is a ...
6
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3answers
527 views

Negative Mass and gravitation

Since Newtonian gravity is analogous to electrostatics shouldn't there be something called negative mass? Also, a moving charge generates electric field, but why doesn't a moving mass generate some ...
10
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4answers
3k views

Apparent violation of Newton's 3rd law and the conservation of angular momentum for a pair of charged particles interacting magnetically

Consider a system of the two identical point positive charges situated in free space (isolated from influence of any other external fields) as shown in the figure below. Particle 1 is at $(a,a,0)$ and ...
15
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3answers
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Can magnets rotate infinitely?

There are many videos on youtube in which people arranged magnets in circle and rotated one placing in middle of that circle on a shaft, and the magnet (magnet motor) starts madly and continues its ...
12
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2answers
4k 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?
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2answers
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What does the complex electric field show?

We have a complex electric field. Is there any definition for absolute and imaginary part of a complex electric field? What do they stand for?
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1answer
255 views

Can the intensity distribution behind edges and slits be explaint by the interaction with the surface electrons of the edges?

Reading about diffraction of EM radiation on edges, slits and multi slits as well as about electron diffraction behind a wire I came to the conclusion that the intensity distributions on an observers ...
37
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5answers
6k views

Does a constantly accelerating charged particle emit EM radiation or not?

The Abraham-Lorentz force gives the recoil force, $\mathbf{F_{rad}}$, back on a charged particle $q$ when it emits electromagnetic radiation. It is given by: $$\mathbf{F_{rad}} = \frac{q^2}{6\pi \...
13
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8answers
12k views

Is gravity just electromagnetic attraction?

Recently, I was pondering over the thought that is most of the elementary particles have intrinsic magnetism, then can gravity be just a weaker form of electromagnetic attraction? But decided the ...
3
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1answer
1k views

How EM waves are produced by accelerating charged particles?

How the electro-magnetic waves are produced by the accelerating charged particle? Graphical explanations are most welcomed. Is the explanation given by the below mentioned article correct regarding ...
9
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4answers
22k views

Can the Earth's magnetic field be used to generate electricity?

Since the Earth has a magnetic field, can it, in theory, be run through a conductive metal coil to create electricity?
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5answers
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Does alternating current (AC) require a complete circuit?

This popular question about "whether an AC circuit with one end grounded to Earth and the other end grounded to Mars would work (ignoring resistance/inductance of the wire)" was recently asked on the ...
21
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2answers
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Local explanation of the Aharonov-Bohm effect in terms of force fields

Here is an interesting paper for the Physics SE community: On the role of potentials in the Aharonov-Bohm effect. Lev Vaidman. Phys. Rev. A 86 no. 4, 040101 (R) (2012). arXiv:1110.6169 [quant-ph]....
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3answers
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Geometric interpretation of Electromagnetism

For gravity, we have General Relativity, which is a geometric theory for gravitation. Is there a similar analog for Electromagnetism?
12
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3answers
8k views

Protons' repulsion within a nucleus

Do the protons inside the nucleus repel each other by the electrostatic force? If they do, why doesn't the repulsion drive the protons apart so that the nuclei get disintegrated?
9
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3answers
39k views

In electrostatics, why the electric field inside a conductor is zero?

In electromagnetism books, such as Griffiths or the like, when they talk about the properties of conductors in case of electrostatics they say that the electric field inside a conductor is zero. I ...
8
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1answer
11k 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 ...
11
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2answers
4k views

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: ...
6
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3answers
4k views

Coulomb's Law: why is $k = \dfrac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}$ [duplicate]

This was supposed to be a long question but something went wrong and everything I typed was lost. Here goes. Why is $k = \dfrac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}$ in Coulomb's law? Is this an experimental fact? ...
28
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9answers
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Is there an intuitive explanation for why Lorentz force is perpendicular to a particle's velocity and the magnetic field?

The Lorentz force on a charged particle is perpendicular to the particle's velocity and the magnetic field it's moving through. This is obvious from the equation: $$ \mathbf{F} = q\mathbf{v} \times \...
25
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6answers
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Does a magnetic field do work on an intrinsic magnetic dipole?

When you release a magnetic dipole in a nonuniform magnetic field, it will accelerate. I understand that for current loops (and other such macroscopic objects) the magnetic moment comes from moving ...
16
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3answers
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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 ...
8
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2answers
3k views

How do mirrors work?

My physics professor explained to me that electromagnetic waves are consisted of two components - electric and magnetic - which cause each other. Which part of the mirror actually reflects the wave? ...
21
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5answers
3k views

How can there be net linear momentum in a static electromagnetic field (not propagating)?

I understand from basic conservation of energy and momentum considerations, it is clear in classical electrodynamics that the fields should be able to have energy and momentum. This leads to the usual ...
16
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9answers
15k views

Recommended books for undergraduate electrodynamics

What books are recommended for an advanced undergraduate course in electrodynamics?
14
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4answers
18k views

Where can I find simulation software for electricity and magnets?

Is there easily-available* software to simulate coils, solenoids, and other magnetic and electromagnetic devices? I'd like to play around with some design ideas, such as Halbach arrays, but physics ...
16
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2answers
5k views

How strong of magnetic field would noticibly attract a person?

There is Iron in blood. Iron is magnetic. Roughly how strong would a magnet have to be to induce a noticeable attraction? It would be nice to know this for several distances. Also, do electromagnets ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Can a free particle absorb/emit photons?

As simple as in the title.. I would like to know also some mathematics about it!
44
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12answers
11k views

Home experiments to derive the speed of light?

Are there any experiments I can do to derive the speed of light with only common household tools?
22
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4answers
2k views

Detection of the Electric Charge of a Black Hole

By the "No Hair Theorem", three quantities "define" a black hole; Mass, Angular Momentum, and Charge. The first is easy enough to determine, look at the radius of the event horizon and you can use the ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Why doesn't the electric field inside a wire in a circuit fall off with distance from the battery?

We studied electric fields due to point charges. The magnitude of these fields decreases with the square of the distance from the point charge. It seems to me that we could treat the positive ...
27
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7answers
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What happens to the magnetic field in this case?

As far as I know, it's possible to create a radially polarised ring magnet, where one pole is on the inside, and the field lines cross the circumference at right angles. So imagine if I made one ...
20
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3answers
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Is the EmDrive, or “Relativity Drive” possible?

In 2006, New Scientist magazine published an article titled Relativity drive: The end of wings and wheels1 [1] about the EmDrive [Wikipedia] which stirred up a fair degree of controversy and some ...
18
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7answers
740 views

What is potential energy truly?

I have a problematic question for which I have been unable to attain a satisfactory answer. What is potential energy truly? - I have read about how potential energy can be seen as the "highering" ...
7
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4answers
10k views

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 don'...
6
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4answers
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Why is the conductor an equipotential surface in electrostatics?

Since the electric field inside a conductor is zero that means the potential is constant inside a conductor, which means the "inside" of a conductor is an equal potential region. Why do books also ...