# If Ampere's law implies the Biot-Savart law, which implies Gauss's law for magnetism, does that mean Maxwell's equations are redundant?

Studying electromagnetism, I came across the following fact:

• Maxwell's third equation (divergence of magnetic field is zero) can be derived from the Biot-Savart Law.
• The Biot-Savart Law can be derived from Maxwell-Ampère's Law

Hence, it seems that the four equations are redundant.

EDIT: For the sake of completeness, this is the proof of the 3rd equation (this is basically Griffith's proof):

$$\begin{eqnarray} \vec{B}(r) &=& \iiint_K \frac{\mu_0 i}{4 \pi} \frac{\vec{j} \times \vec{r}}{r^3} d\tau'\\ &=& \iiint_K \frac{\mu_0 i}{4 \pi} \ \vec{j} \times \nabla\left(-\frac{1}{r}\right) d\tau' \end{eqnarray}$$ Applying divergence to both terms we obtain: $$\begin{eqnarray} \text{div} \vec{B} &=& \frac{\mu_0 i}{4 \pi} \iiint_K \text{div} \left(\vec{j} \times \nabla\left(-\frac{1}{r}\right)\right) d\tau'\\ &=& \frac{\mu_0 i}{4 \pi} \iiint_K \nabla \times \vec{j} \cdot \nabla\left(-\frac{1}{r}\right) - \vec{j} \cdot \nabla \times \nabla\left(-\frac{1}{r}\right) d\tau' \\ &=& 0 \end{eqnarray}$$

The last term is zero since the curl of a gradient is always zero and the divergence of $$\vec{j}$$ is zero ($$\vec{j}$$ depends on primed coordinates only).

And this is the derivation of the Biot-Savart Law from the Maxwell-Ampère Law: Is Biot-Savart law obtained empirically or can it be derived?

• Please show the details of your proof. – my2cts Dec 21 '18 at 10:59
• I've added the proof / references. – Mattia F. Dec 21 '18 at 11:11
• With your definition of "redundant", any math theorem is redundant. All you'd need would be axioms. – Eric Duminil Dec 21 '18 at 22:29
• That's not really what I meant. Maxwell's equations in a certain sense are the axioms of electromagnetism theory, so my question was whether one of the axioms could be derived from the other axioms (so it would actually be a theorem). – Mattia F. Dec 23 '18 at 17:16

Since there is no magnetic charge term in the Biot-Savart law, it is only correct if Gauss's law for magnetism ($$\nabla \cdot \mathbf{B} = 0$$) is true and there are no magnetic monopoles. So it makes sense that Gauss's law can be derived from the Biot-Savart law.
However, the Biot-Savart law cannot be derived from the Maxwell-Ampère Law without implicitly assuming Gauss's law. In general, we know this both because of the lack of a magnetic charge term and because as Giorgio pointed out, the curl and divergence of a vector field are independent quantities. The specific problem with the proof you cited is that it assumes that a continuous vector potential $$\mathbf{A}$$ can be constructed such that $$\nabla \times \mathbf{A} = \mathbf{B}$$, which is not true if there are magnetic monopoles.