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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64
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4answers
26k 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 "...
152
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7answers
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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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9answers
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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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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 ...
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10answers
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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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4answers
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How and why do accelerating charges radiate electromagnetic radiation?

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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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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5answers
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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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Why does the density of electric field lines make sense, if there is a field line through every point?

When we're dealing with problems in electrostatics (especially when we use Gauss' law) we often refer to the density of electric field lines, which is inversely proportional to the radius in the case ...
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6answers
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Apparent Violation of Newton's $3^{\text{rd}}$ Law and the Conservation of Momentum (and Angular Momentum) For a Pair of Charged Particles

Consider a system of the two identical positive point charges situated in free space (isolated from the influence of any other external fields) as shown in the attached diagram. Particle $1$ is at $(a,...
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Derivation of Maxwell's equations from field tensor lagrangian

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 $L = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$...
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The exchange of photons gives rise to the electromagnetic force [duplicate]

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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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6answers
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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 \...
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9answers
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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 ...
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7k views

Why do physicists believe that there exist magnetic monopoles?

One thing I've heard stated many times is that "most" or "many" physicists believe that, despite the fact that they have not been observed, there are such things as magnetic monopoles. However, I've ...
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4answers
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How do electrons know which path to take in a circuit?

The current is maximum through those segments of a circuit that offer the least resistance. But how do electrons know beforehand that which path will resist their drift the least?
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1answer
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Noether's first theorem and classical proof of electric charge conservation

How to prove conservation of electric charge using Noether's first theorem according to classical (non-quantum) mechanics? I know the proof based on using Klein–Gordon field, but that derivation use ...
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1answer
626 views

Can the intensity distribution behind edges and slits be explaint by the interaction with the surface electrons of the edges?

Reading about diffraction of EM radiation on edges, slits and multi slits as well as about electron diffraction behind a wire I came to the conclusion that the intensity distributions on an observers ...
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8answers
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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?
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2answers
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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 ...
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Deriving Lagrangian density for electromagnetic field

In considering the (special) relativistic EM field, I understand that assuming a Lagrangian density of the form $$\mathcal{L} =-\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} + \frac{1}{c}j_\mu A^\mu$$ and ...
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Recommended books for advanced undergraduate electrodynamics

What books are recommended for an advanced undergraduate course in electrodynamics?
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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 ...
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2answers
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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?
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4answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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How do mirrors work?

My physics professor explained to me that electromagnetic waves are consisted of two components - electric and magnetic - which cause each other. Which part of the mirror actually reflects the wave? ...
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3answers
984 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 [quant-ph]. ...
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2answers
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What is charge actually? How to define it? [closed]

Is charge of something for (e.g.) an electron related to electromagnetic space if it exists due to energy, due to which it may have mass? I don't know about quantum mechanics or advanced particle ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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Retrieving Maxwell's equations from the minimum action principle

I'm currently working at the start of Alexei Tsvelik's book Quantum Field Theory in Condensed Matter Physics. I'm kinda stumped on a few essential steps. Starting with the action: $$S = \int dt \int ...
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4answers
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Can the Earth's magnetic field 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?
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2answers
11k views

Conservation of Energy in a magnet

When a permanent magnet attracts some object, lets say a steel ball, energy is converted into for instance kinetic energy and heat when attraction happens, and they eventually collide. Does this imply ...
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2answers
4k views

Can a free particle absorb/emit photons?

As simple as in the title.. I would like to know also some mathematics about it!
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What is the minimum wavelength of electromagnetic radiation?

As a first approximation, I don't see how a wavelength of less than 2 Planck distances could exist. The question is: Are there any other limits that would come into play before that? For example: ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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9answers
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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 \...
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2answers
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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, ...
26
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5answers
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Why is current a scalar quantity?

Current has both magnitude and direction. As per the definition of vector defined in encyclopedia, current should be a vector quantity. But, we know that current is a scalar quantity. What is the ...
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5answers
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Have we directly observed the electric component to EM waves?

For example, has anyone has directly observed charges oscillating due to standing EM waves? I am particularly interested because it'd demonstrate that radiation has a transverse electric component to ...
15
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3answers
14k views

Protons' repulsion within a nucleus

Do the protons inside the nucleus repel each other by the electrostatic force? If they do, why doesn't the repulsion drive the protons apart so that the nuclei get disintegrated?
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How does reflection work?

In Newton's model of light as being composed of particles, it's easy to imagine reflection as being the rebounding of individual corpuscles off a surface. However, since light can also behave like a ...
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3answers
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If electromagnetic induction generates a potential difference in a loop, where are the “high” and “low” potentials?

In AP Physics, I learned that when a changing magnetic flux generates an electromotive force around a loop, and emf is measured in volts, where are the "high" and "low" points to measure the potential ...
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1answer
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How EM waves are produced by accelerating charged particles?

How the electro-magnetic waves are produced by the accelerating charged particle? Graphical explanations are most welcomed. Is the explanation given by the below mentioned article correct regarding ...
38
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5answers
23k 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 ...

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