Knowing that magnetic field is made from photons. Where does a magnet get its photons from in order to create a magnetic field? Are photons created within the magnet, or does the magnet capture photons from the outside?


1 Answer 1


Actually, you have it backwards. The magnetic field isn't made of photons. Photons are made of magnetic (rather, electromagnetic) fields. To be specific, photons are ripples in the electromagnetic field. So, a magnet is surrounded by a magnetic field. If the magnet is not moving, then the field is stationary, and there are no photons. Wiggle the magnet, and the field wiggles. If some of these wiggles propagate away from the magnet, then those are photons.

In fact, all particles--including electrons, quarks, and all the others--are ripples in their respective fields. Electrons are stable ripples in a single, universe-spanning electron field. Electron ripples carry charge, so they interact with the electromagnetic field, and they disturb each other and apply forces to each other.

To answer your other question, where does the magnet get the photons, the magnet generates them by accelerating. It's the same as when you create ripples on the surface of a pond by moving your hand in the water. The water was already there, you just had to disturb the surface to create ripples. For the magnet, the electromagnetic field was already there, the magnet just had to disturb it to create ripples, which we call photons.

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    $\begingroup$ That's an interesting answer. It makes me wonder though. I heard many times that you can't create something out of noting. If the magnetic field creates photons during acceleration, there must be some transformation going on during this process, what particles are being changed to photons in this process? $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2015 at 12:54

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