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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Can a third type of electrical charge exist?

Upon reading my book on physics, it mentions that there are only two discovered types of electric charges. I wonder if there could be a third type of elusive charge, and what type of effects could it ...
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Why is dipole the simplest source in electrodynamics?

I see this sort of statement in many materials, for example this: The smallest radiating unit is a dipole, an electromagnetic point source. and this: The simplest infinitesimal radiating ...
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Electromagnetic fields vs electromagnetic radiation

As I understand, light is what is more generally called "electromagnetic radiation", right? The energy radiated by a star, by an antenna, by a light bulb, by your cell phone, etc.. are all the same ...
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Electromagnetic black hole?

So I was thinking about something for the past while Consider a large spherical foam-ball with homogeneous density. Where a foam ball is defined as an object that can absorb matter with 0 friction (...
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Can magnetic fields be redirected and focused at one point?

I know that magnetic fields can be redirected, but... given a situation where you have static magnetic field over a large area, and you want to quickly change the magnetic field strength. Is it ...
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Can one force the electric quadrupole moments of a neutral charge distribution to vanish using a suitable translation?

For a system of electric charges $q_i$, at positions $\mathbf{r}_i$, with a nonzero net charge $Q=\sum_i q_i$, one can define a "centre of charge" in the obvious way as $$ \mathbf{r}_c=\frac{1}{Q}\...
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Shine a light into a superconductor

A type-I superconductor can expel almost all magnetic flux (below some critical value $H_c$) from its interior when superconducting. Light as we know is an electromagnetic wave. So what would happen ...
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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 ...
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What is the symmetry which is responsible for preservation/conservation of electrical charges?

Another Noether's theorem question, this time about electrical charge. According to Noether's theorem, all conservation laws originate from invariance of a system to shifts in a certain space. For ...
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Equation describing magnetic hysteresis

So when you're looking at B-H curves for ferromagnetic substances, you often see these magnetic hysteresis curves, which occur, I gather, largely because of domain formation which has some reversible ...
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Is there a strong force analog to magnetic fields?

In special relativity, magnetism can be re-interpreted as an aspect of how electric charges interact when viewed from different inertial frames. Color charge is more complex than electric charge, but ...
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Is Newton's universal gravitational constant the inverse of permittivity of mass in vacuum?

Is it possible to consider Newton's universal gravitational constant, $G$, as inverse of vacuum permittivity of mass? $$\epsilon_m=\frac {1}{4\pi G}$$ if so, then vacuum permeability of mass will be:...
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History of Electromagnetic Field Tensor

I'm curious to learn how people discovered that electric and magnetic fields could be nicely put into one simple tensor. It's clear that the tensor provides many beautiful simplifications to the ...
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“Reality” of EM waves vs. wavefunction of individual photons - why not treat the wave function as equally “Real”?

In thinking how to ask this question (somewhat) succinctly, I keep coming back to a Microwave Oven. A Microwave Oven has a grid of holes over the window specifically designed to be smaller in ...
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In an atom, when an electron loses energy, why is a photon released? If photons are massless, how are they created in this process and why?

This is my first question and I am just a 14 year old so excuse me for my mistakes. Please simplify your answer a little only. Using terms thinking I won't understand is a mistake.
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Is classical electromagnetism a dead research field?

Is classical electromagnetism a dead research field? Are there any phenomena within classical electromagnetism that we have no explanation for?
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Can I levitate an object without using an electromagnet?

I know that it's possible to make an object levitate using an electromagnet to hold it up. But is it also possible to do this with regular magnets? Is there a special kind of magnet I need in order ...
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Home experiments using wireless LAN or mobile phones about electromagnetism?

Are there any nice experiments using wireless LAN access points or routers or mobile phones to demonstrate physical features of electromagnetic fields, especially em-waves? More precisely I am ...
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Reduction of Maxwell's equations to classical circuit theory

Can classical circuit theory based on lumped element models be obtained from Maxwell's equations as a limiting case in an appropriate sense? If this is the case, what exactly are all the assumptions ...
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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, H_\...
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Does GR provide a maximum electric field limit?

Does GR provide a limit to the maximum electric field? I've gotten conflicting information regarding this, and am quite confused. I will try to quote exactly when possible so as not to confuse ...
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How do symmetries “define” physical laws?

First of all, I do not have any problems concerning what symmetries are or how to describe them. However, I do not have any knowledge concerning how the reasoning for quantum field theory and thus ...
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Distorted colors of Google StreetView photographs near electric power lines

This is a followup to my question: Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines Some users presented a convincing picture that the electric shocks under power lines are primarily from the ...
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Would a rotating magnet emit photons? If so, what causes the torque that gradually slows the rotation?

If a magnet is rotating around an axis perpendicular to the axis north-south axis of the magnet (which I assume to be cylindrically symmetric), in space (so no-gravity/freefall or friction), should it ...
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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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Are there analogs to resistance, inductance, capacitance, and memristance connecting the weak force to electromagnetism?

A question was asked over at EE.SE recently which I tried to answer, but much of my answer was speculative. I'm hoping someone here can help my ignorance. In electronics design, there are four ...
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What causes the permittivity and permeability of vacuum?

When light travels through a material, it gets "slowed down" (at least its net speed decreases). The atoms in the material "disturb" the light in some way which causes it to make stops on its path. ...
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Do Maxwell's equations predict the speed of light exactly?

I know that $\frac{1}{\sqrt{\mu_0\varepsilon_0}}$ is equal to the speed of light but is this prediction accurate? I mean is it 100 percent accurate?
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If electrons were positive and protons were negative, would life be different? [duplicate]

This was a question on a worksheet during my first week in a class on Electromagnetism. The answer is essentially: No. Life would be no different if electrons were positively charged and protons ...
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Are the plates of a battery really charged?

In a zinc/copper Daniell cell correct me if I am wrong : Zinc has 2 valence electrons. So it wants to get rid of them. To do so it sends them to the copper which needs 2 to complete its valence ...
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Why aren't all dielectrics transparent?

Conductors are opaque because, when hit by a Maxwellian wave, the free charges on their surface create another wave which destructively interferes with the former in the region of space beyond said ...
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How many photons are needed to make a light wave?

What is the smallest number of photons needed to make a "light wave"? In other words, how many (coherent?) photons start to exhibit classical behavior? For example, how many photons are needed to get ...
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Are voltages discrete when we zoom in enough?

Voltages are often thought of as continuous physical quantities. I was wondering whether by zooming in a lot, they are discrete. I feel like the answer to the above question is yes as voltages in the ...
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Can you magnetize iron with a hammer?

We know that a piece of ferromagnet, such as iron, can be magnetized by putting in a strong magnetic field to get domains parallel to the field grow. I also remember from pop. culture and MacGyver ...
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If you hold a compass needle vertical does it point down or up differently on which hemisphere you are?

Usually our compass is hold horizontally, and in the northern hemisphere it will point in the direction of to the north of the earth (actually to the South pole of the Earth's 'magnet'). But looking ...
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What is the difference between a battery and a charged capacitor?

What is the difference between a battery and a charged capacitor? I can see lot of similarities between capacitor and battery. In both these charges are separated and When not connected in a circuit ...
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Does a Faraday cage block magnetic field?

I want to block the magnetic field of a very strong magnet, can I put it inside a Faraday cage to block its magnetic field?
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What does it take to understand Maxwell's equations? [closed]

Assume I want to learn math and physics enough to reach a level where I understand Maxwell's equations (The terms and reasoning in the equations I.e. why they "work"). What would I have to learn in ...
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Why doesn't the electric field inside a wire in a circuit fall off with distance from the battery?

We studied electric fields due to point charges. The magnitude of these fields decreases with the square of the distance from the point charge. It seems to me that we could treat the positive ...
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What is the electric field generated by a spinning magnet?

Consider a cylinder of permanently magnetized material, with uniform magnetization pointing along the cylindrical symmetry axis (the $z$-direction). The magnet is rotating about its cylindrical ...
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Why is Terahertz radiation so hard to generate?

This paper (and many others I've read) claim that searching for ways of producing THz radiation is a high-interest research topic. However, something I've just never understood is why it's so hard ...
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No magnetic dipole moment for photon

Electrically neutral particles such as neutrinos can have nonvanishing magnetic dipole moments. Spin-1 particles, e.g., deuterium nuclei, can also have dipole moments. Googling seems to show that the ...
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Why do we talk of the “weakness of gravity” rather than “the surprising charge to mass ratio of particles”?

The relative strength of gravity and electromagnetic forces is obvious — stand on a sheet of paper, and even with the whole of Earth pulling, your motion is stopped by the electric fields inside that ...
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Coulomb gauge fixing and “normalizability”

The Setup Let Greek indices be summed over $0,1,\dots, d$ and Latin indices over $1,2,\dots, d$. Consider a vector potential $A_\mu$ on $\mathbb R^{d,1}$ defined to gauge transform as $$ A_\mu\to ...
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Is a classical laser possible?

A laser is built on quantum mechanics to create a beam of photons with the same frequency and phase. Someone told me a free electron laser is a based on classical electrodynamics. Is that true?
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How to derive Maxwell's equations from the electromagnetic Lagrangian?

In Heaviside-Lorentz units the Maxwell's equations are: $$\nabla \cdot \vec{E} = \rho $$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{B} - \frac{\partial \vec{E}}{\partial t} = \vec{J}$$ $$ \nabla \times \vec{E} + \frac{\...
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What problems with Electromagnetism led Einstein to the Special Theory of Relativity?

I have often heard it said that several problems in the theory of electromagnetism as described by Maxwell's equations led Einstein to his theory of Special Relativity. What exactly were these ...