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 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 ...
61
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1answer
2k views

Does the 4/3 problem of classical electromagnetism remain in quantum mechanics?

In Volume II Chapter 28 of the Feymann Lectures on Physics, Feynman discusses the infamous 4/3 problem of classical electromagnetism. Suppose you have a charged particle of radius $a$ and charge $q$ ...
47
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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 ...
43
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4answers
9k views

Why doesn't light, which travels faster than sound, produce a sonic boom?

I know that when an object exceeds the speed of sound ($340$ m/s) a sonic boom is produced. Light which travels at $300,000,000$ m/s, much more than the speed of sound but doesn't produce a sonic ...
43
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8answers
4k 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 ...
42
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7answers
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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 ...
40
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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?
40
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1answer
27k 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 ...
38
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7answers
10k views

Does electricity flow on the surface of a wire or in the interior?

I was having a conversation with my father and father-in-law, both of whom are in electric related work, and we came to a point where none of us knew how to proceed. I was under the impression that ...
38
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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 ...
34
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5answers
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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 ...
31
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4answers
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How wrong are the classical Maxwell's equations (as compared to QED)?

Now, I don't really mean to say that Maxwell's equations are wrong. I know Maxwell's equations are very accurate when it comes to predicting physical phenomena, but going through high school and now ...
29
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6answers
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Why does only one side of a neon lamp glow?

When applying DC to a neon lamp, only the negatively-charged electrode glows: The voltages across the lamps are left: DC (left lead positive), middle: DC (right lead positive), and right: AC. ...
27
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4answers
4k 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 ...
27
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8answers
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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
3k views

Is a suit that hides a soldier's heat signature fundamentally possible?

I recently played "Crysis", a game where the protagonist wears a suit that allows the player to hide both himself and his heat signature. Then I watched Iron Man 3, where a kid suggests that Tony ...
25
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4answers
3k 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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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 ...
23
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5answers
2k views

Why do we deal only with large scale magnetic fields in astrophysics, and not electric fields?

In astrophysics there is a lot going on about strong, large scale magnetic fields: in stars (prominences), magnetic dynamos, compact accretors collimating jets, etc. There's even a special ...
23
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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?
23
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4answers
14k 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 ...
23
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7answers
3k views

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 ...
22
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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 ...
22
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4answers
993 views

Is the existence of electromagnetic standing waves dependent on the observers reference frame?

If I take two plane EM waves travelling in opposite direction e.g. $E = E_0 \sin(kx-\omega t)$ and $E=E_0 \sin (kx + \omega t)$, they sum to give a standing wave with a time-averaged Poynting vector ...
21
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3answers
1k views

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. ...
21
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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 ...
21
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5answers
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What non-metal is attracted by a magnet?

Are there any non-metal objects that are attracted by magnets?
21
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2answers
735 views

Covariant Description of Light Scattering at a fastly rotating Cylinder

Let us consider the following Gedankenexperiment: A cylinder rotates symmetric around the $z$ axis with angular velocity $\Omega$ and a plane wave with $\mathbf{E}\text{, }\mathbf{B} \propto ...
20
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5answers
3k 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 ...
20
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4answers
3k 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 ...
20
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3answers
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What is the answer to Feynman's Disc Paradox?

[This question is Certified Higgs Free!] Richard Feynman in Lectures on Physics Vol. II Sec. 17-4, "A paradox," describes a problem in electromagnetic induction that did not originate with him, but ...
19
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2answers
4k views

Why do earphone pieces repel each other when music is on?

I know it has to do with electricity flowing and generating a magnetic field, but I would like a thorough explanation (with perhaps a picture). In particular: What is in the ear piece? Why do they ...
19
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5answers
885 views

Should a neutron fall faster than a proton?

If you drop a proton and a neutron in a gravitational field, they both fall, but the proton has a charge and accelerating charges radiate energy, so that leaves less kinetic energy for the proton and ...
19
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1answer
873 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 ...
18
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3answers
4k views

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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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between the Balmer series of hydrogen and deuterium?

In my quantum mechanics textbook, it claims that the Balmer series between hydrogen and deuterium is different. However, I was under the impression that the Balmer series $$H_\alpha, H_\beta, ...
18
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1answer
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Flux through a Mobius strip

I was sent here from mathoverflow, hoping for a complete answer to this: === A friend of mine asked me what is the flux of the electric field (or any vector field like $$ \vec r=(x,y,z)\mapsto ...
4
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2answers
21k views

Why does electricity flowing through a copper coil generate a magnetic field?

Can some one please explain to me why electricity flowing though a copper coil generates a magnetic field or where I could possibly find that information? Are there other materials that produce a ...
4
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2answers
848 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 the space (isolated from influence of any other external fields) as shown in the figure.Particle1 is at (a,a,0) and Particle2 ...
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 ...
1
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1answer
56 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 ...
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3answers
132 views

Are magnetism and electricity the same thing? [on hold]

I have read at certain place electricity and magnetism are the same thing, bit in reality we see both have different properties.
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4answers
98 views
1
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0answers
42 views

Does Lorentz force affect the magnetic field?

When a charged particle moves thru magnetic field, it is affected by Lorentz force. But does the magnetic field surrounding the particle experience a force opposite to the particles Lorentz force ? ...
1
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1answer
318 views

Question about superconductivity

A long cylinder of radius $R$ is made from two different material. Its radius $r<r_0$ $(r_0<R)$ part is a material with superconducting transition temperature $T_1$, and its $r_0<r<R$ ...
0
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1answer
18 views

How can electric field accelerate fog dissipation?

I should emphasize that I view the problem as a 'research' rather than a 'textbook' level. However, as I am almost unfamiliar with the subject it may be that the answer is elementary and well-known. ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Are Q1 and Q2 attracted or repelled to the sphere shown in the figure below?

Can you tell from the image below if Q1 and Q2 are attracted or repelled. Will Q2 only be attracted to the sphere if Q2 is enough bigger than Q1? Will the positive charge inside the shell attract ...
-1
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0answers
16 views

Finding the magnetic field [on hold]

A mechanical pendulum is made of a metal rod, one end of which is attached to a string. The mass of the rod is $m$ and the string length is $l$. The oscillation period of the thus obtained pendulum ...
-1
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1answer
9 views

Magnetic field size from electric field [on hold]

An electric charge oscillates about the origin along the y axis. A distant observer is located at a point on the +z axis. You observe the wave from a given location and find that at a given ...
-21
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4answers
2k views

Do We Need Maxwell's Equations Since They Fail to Account for An Experimental Fact at Least in One Occasion?

This question is an outgrowth of What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? where @sb1 mentioned Faraday's law. However, ...