# Questions tagged [electromagnetism]

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 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 ...
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### Does the $\frac{4}{3}$ problem of classical electromagnetism remain in quantum mechanics?

In Volume II Chapter $28$ of the Feymann Lectures on Physics, Feynman discusses the infamous $\frac43$ problem of classical electromagnetism. Suppose you have a charged particle of radius $a$ and ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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### Can tin foil hats block anything?

This is joked about all the time, but... Can tin foil hats actually block anything? If they can, what frequencies? Is there any research into tin or aluminum foil and radio blocking or amplifying ...
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### If you are vacuuming your carpet and you wrap the cord around your body do you become a magnet?

If you wrap an active electric cord around your body, do you become an electromagnet?
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### If like charges repel, why doesn't a charge break itself apart?

How can it be that, if like charges repel, they don't repel themselves? In other words, why don't charges break apart? About the possible duplicate: I want to know about charges in general, not just ...
13k 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 a magnetic field 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 ...
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### How exactly is a normal force exerted, at the molecular level?

I've been surfing the web for quite a while, finding the answers I would need, but couldn't find a convincing one. First of all I need to remind you that this a very long/continuous question, so ...
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### 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 $\vec{B}=(B_x,B_y,B_z)$...
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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 "...
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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 ...
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### 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?
61k views

Let's consider it case by case: Case 1: Charged particle is at rest. It has an electric field around it. No problem. That is its property. Case 2: Charged particle started moving (it's accelerating)....
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### 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 ...
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### Intuitively, why does putting capacitors in series decrease the equivalent capacitance?

Can someone please explain, intuitively (without any formula, I understand the formulas), why the equivalent capacitance of capacitors in series is less than the any individual capacitor's capacitance?...
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### 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 ...
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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 ...
4k views

### What was Feynman's “much better way of presenting the electrodynamics” — which did **not** appear in the Feynman lectures?

Does anyone know what Feynman was referring to in this interview which appears at the beginning of The Feynman Tips on Physics? Note that he is referring to something that did not appear in the ...
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### Is the presence of a magnetic field frame-dependent?

I do not have a strong background in physics, so please refrain from using complex mathematics in any answers :) I was on this site, and I read: When an electrical charge is moving or an ...
23k views

### Is Biot-Savart law obtained empirically or can it be derived?

There's already a question like this here so that my question could be considered duplicate, but I'll try to make my point clear that this is a different question. Is there a way to derive Biot-...
9k 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?
10k views

### Can you bend light to go in a circle?

Is it possible to bend light so that it forms a circle and goes round and round indefinitely without losing energy?
20k views

### Difference between spin and polarization of a photon

I understand how one associates the spin of a quantum particle, e.g. of a photon, with intrinsic angular momentum. And in electromagnetism I have always understood the polarization of an EM wave as ...
94k views

### Can someone please explain magnetic vs electric fields?

I've looked through about 20 different explanations, from the most basic to the most complex, and yet I still don't understand this basic concept. Perhaps someone can help me. I don't understand the ...
5k views

### Is there just one EM field for the whole universe?

Does our universe contain individual magnetic fields ? For example two different magnets, one here on earth and one on mars. Do both of them have their own magnetic field? Or is there only one single ...
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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 ...
5k views

### Why are so many forces explainable using inverse squares when space is three dimensional?

It seems paradoxical that the strength of so many phenomena (Newtonian gravity, Coulomb force) are calculable by the inverse square of distance. However, since volume is determined by three ...
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### Nuclear Fusion: Why is spherical magnetic confinement not used instead of tokamaks in nuclear fusion?

In nuclear fusion, the goal is to create and sustain (usually with magnetic fields) a high-temperature and high-pressure environment enough to output more energy than put in. Tokamaks (donut shape) ...
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### Why does the vacuum even have permeability and permittivity?

The vacuum is empty, yet it seems to have 2 properties: it's absolute permeability and absolute permittivity, which have specific, finite, non-zero values. Why? Why are the vacuum permeability and ...
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### What is momentum really?

Wikipedia defines momentum as in classical mechanics: In classical mechanics, linear momentum or translational momentum is the product of the mass and velocity of an object. However, an ...
16k views

### Does special relativity make magnetic fields irrelevant?

I've heard that special relativity makes the concept of magnetic fields irrelevant, replacing them with relativistic effects between charges moving in different velocity frames. Is this true? If so, ...
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### What is the explanation of the non-existence of magnetic monopoles? [closed]

Electric monopoles do exist, but why cannot magnetic monopoles exist? The question is closed because I need to clarify it, but I don't know how I could ask it another way. However, I've recieved ...
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### Do magnets wear out?

Can a magnet ever wear out or lose strength? If you break a magnet it (seemingly) gets weaker, but what about from normal use? Or even very heavy use, like placing 2 magnets facing each other, so ...
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[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 ...
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### Can a wire having a $610$-$670$ THz (frequency of blue light) AC frequency supply, generate blue light?

We know that when we give alternating current across a wire then it will generate an electromagnetic wave which propagates outward. But if we have a supply which can generate 610 to 670 terahertz of ...
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### Phase shift of 180 degrees of transversal wave on reflection from 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 ...
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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 ...
I've started reading Peskin and Schroeder on my own time, and I'm a bit confused about how to obtain Maxwell's equations from the (source-free) lagrangian density $L = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$...
The curl in cylindrical coordinates is defined: \nabla \times \vec{A}=\left({\frac {1}{\rho }}{\frac {\partial A_{z}}{\partial \varphi }}-{\frac {\partial A_{\varphi }}{\partial z}}\right){\hat {\...