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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21
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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 ...
60
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10answers
5k 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 ...
23
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
25
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5answers
17k views

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 ...
37
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
19
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10answers
5k views

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 ...
14
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4answers
13k views

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 ...
4
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
43
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10answers
6k views

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 ...
19
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7answers
4k views

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?
20
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5answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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3answers
378 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 ...
1
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2answers
2k views

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?
5
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3answers
8k views

Can the Earth's magnetic 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?
41
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8answers
3k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
10
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
39
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13answers
9k 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?
27
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4answers
3k 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 ...
19
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5answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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2answers
2k views

How do mirrors work?

Apparently, light is just a certain wavelength, or "the visible spectrum" of electromagnetic waves. If I recall correctly, my physics teacher explained to me that electromagnetic waves are basically ...
13
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3answers
3k 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 ...
13
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5answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
919 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 ...
16
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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?
6
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1answer
4k 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 ...
10
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3answers
13k views

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 ...
4
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3answers
2k 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? ...
42
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7answers
4k views

Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines

It's been happening to me for years. I finally decided to ask users who are better with "practical physics" when I was told that my experience – that I am going to describe momentarily – prove that I ...
24
votes
6answers
5k views

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 ...
17
votes
4answers
992 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 ...
18
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4answers
2k views

What is the magnetic field inside hollow ball of magnets?

Setup: we have a large number of thin magnets shaped such that we can place them side by side and eventually form a hollow ball. The ball we construct will have the north poles of all of the magnets ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Are the Maxwell's equations enough to derive the law of Coulomb?

Are the 8 Maxwell's equations enough to derive the formula for the electromagnetic field created by a stationary point charge, which is the same as the law of Coulomb? If I am not mistaken, due to ...
6
votes
1answer
456 views

What happens to an embedded magnetic field when a black hole is formed from rotating charged dust?

Black holes have no-hair so there are uniquely specified by a mass, charge and angular momentum. Imagine a cloud of charged rotating dust. There will be a magnetic field associated with the current ...
10
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3answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Collision of two photons

Could someone explain me how will be look like collision of two photons? Will they behave like: Electromagnetic waves, they will interpher with each other and keep they wave nature Particles and ...
3
votes
2answers
399 views

Electromagnetic Momentum

My book says : The fact that electromagnetic radiation of energy carried momentum was known from classical theory and from the experiments of Nichols and Hull in 1903. This relation is also consistent ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
37
votes
1answer
7k views

How does this “simple” electric train work?

In this YouTube video, a dry cell battery, a wound copper wire and a few magnets (see image below) are being used to create what can be described as "train". It looks fascinating but how does this ...
16
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0answers
585 views

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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Why does the “Troll-Mobile” not work?

See image: If I'm not totally dumb the car would move when the right magnet would not be attached to the car, at same distance of the booth magnets. So why would it not move?
7
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1answer
1k 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: $E = -\nabla\phi - \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}$, ...
5
votes
3answers
17k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
256 views

How to understand holography and hologram

I've spent some time reading wiki etc. What I get now is that apart from the normal light amplitude information, holograms also record the phase information of light. But this is so difficult for me ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Popular depictions of electromagnetic wave: is there an error?

Here are some depictions of electromagnetic wave, similar to the depictions in other places: Isn't there an error? It is logical to presume that the electric field should have maximum when ...
7
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3answers
286 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
955 views

Why is the voltage drop across an ideal wire zero?

I'm having trouble conceptualizing why the voltage drop between two points of an ideal wire (i.e. no resistance) is $0~V$. Using Ohm's Law, the equation is such: $$ V = IR \\ V = I(0~\Omega) \\ V = ...
1
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6answers
3k views

No magnetic field from a static charge - Is there a simple physical argument to show why?

For a charge moving in an electric field $\vec E$, its equation of motion is given by the electric part of the Lorentz force $$\frac d {dt}\gamma m \vec v = e\vec E$$This comes from the conservation ...
0
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1answer
3k views

Violation of Newton's 3rd law and momentum conservation

Why and when does newtons 3rd law violate in relativistic mechanics? Check this link http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/Newton.htm.