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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What is the difference between an electric and a magnetic field? [closed]

This question is a consequence of another question of mine which is about spin. Here is my spin question. What is the difference between these two fields? How do they occur? Am I right if I say that ...
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What is the origin of the factor of $-1/4$ in the Maxwell Lagrangian?

I have seen numerous 'derivations' of the Maxwell Lagrangian, $$\mathcal{L} ~=~ -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu \nu}F^{\mu \nu},$$ but every one has sneakily inserted a factor of $-1/4$ without explaining why. ...
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To what extent can speed of light be reduced? [duplicate]

Light slows down upon entering different transparent objects, and the ratio is taken as refractive index of the object. If light can be slowed down, then is there a limit up to which it can be slowed ...
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Is current in superconductors infinite? If they have 0 resistance then I (V/R) should be infinite? [duplicate]

I learned many years ago that according to Ohm's law, current is equal to voltage divided by resistance. Now if superconductors have zero resistance then the current should be infinite. Moreover the ...
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Electromagnetic Field as a Connection in a Vector Bundle

I would like to know more about Ehresmann connections in vector bundles and how they relate to the electromagnetic field and the electron in quantum mechanics. Background: The Schrödinger equation ...
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What does a Galilean transformation of Maxwell's equations look like?

In the 1860's Maxwell formulated what are now called Maxwell's equation, and he found that they lead to a remarkable conclusion: the existence of electromagnetic waves that propagate at a speed $c$, ...
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Is it possible to generalize the Maxwell equations to higher dimensions?

The usual Maxwell equations are for 3 spatial dimensions, right? Is it possible to generalize them to 2 spatial dimensions or 4 spatial dimensions?
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Can we think of the EM tensor as an infinitesimal generator of Lorentz transformations?

I'm asking this question because I'm feeling a bit confused about how Lorentz transformations relate to the electromagnetic tensor, and hope someone can help me clear out my possible misunderstandings....
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Effects of a very large magnetic field on the human body

Ever since reading about the NHMFL I have always wondered about this and asked several people without getting a good satisfactory answer. My question is, considering the simplest case let's say a ...
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Is it possible to project a magnetic field at a location in space?

A magnetic field strength drops-off quickly as the distance from a magnet increases. Is there any way to use electromagnetic fields to create a magnetic field at a location. For example, if there are ...
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Why does the analogy between electromagnetism and general relativity differ if you consider them as gauge theories or fiber bundles?

Electromagnetism and general relativity can both be thought of as gauge theories, in which case there is a natural analogy between them: (Strictly speaking, the gauge symmetry of diffeomorphism ...
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How to interpret the magnetic vector potential?

In electromagnetism, we can re-write the electric field in terms of the electric scalar potential, and the magnetic vector potential. That is: $E = -\nabla\phi - \frac{\partial A}{\partial t}$, ...
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What are the dimensions, width and length, of a photon?

Everyone is always talking about photon's wavelength. But what about its dimensions? What is length and width of it? And does it even have a point to think about such things? Or those dimensions are ...
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What is the mechanism by which magnetic fields do work?

I've seen some conflicted answers to this question in texts and on the web, in the case of a dipole, for example. Do magnetic fields do work directly, or is it their induced electric fields that do ...
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What is degeneracy pressure?

What is "degeneracy pressure"? I know there are 4 fundamental forces- EM, gravity, weak and strong. But then degeneracy comes along ubiquitously in everything right from neutron star to the ...
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To what extent is the “minimal substitution” or “minimal coupling” for the EM vector potential valid?

In all text books (and papers for that matter) about QFT and the classical limit of relativistic equations, one comes across the "minimal substitution" to introduce the magnetic potential into the ...
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Can we measure an electromagnetic field?

As far as I can check, the Aharonov-Bohm effect is not -- contrary to what is claimed in the historical paper -- a demonstration that the vector potential $A$ has an intrinsic existence in quantum ...
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Electric charges on compact four-manifolds

Textbook wisdom in electromagnetism tells you that there is no total electric charge on a compact manifold. For example, consider space-time of the form $\mathbb{R} \times M_3$ where the first factor ...
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Is force due to electric field instantaneous? If not then why?

Suppose a charge $q$ is experiencing a force due to charge $Q$. Suppose we move the charge $Q$ very slowly (no acceleration) what's the instantaneous impact on the charge $q$? How will the $q$ react?
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Is it possible to separate the poles of a magnet?

It might seem common sense that when we split a magnet we get 2 magnets with their own N-S poles. But somehow, I find it hard to accept this fact. (Which I now know is stated by the magnetic Gauss's ...
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Why should Conservative forces have their curl equal to zero?(intuition)

There are several conditions that must be met in order for a force to be conservative. One of them is that the curl of that force must be equal to zero? What is the physical intuition behind this? If ...
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Can the magnetic lines of force of two or more magnets intersect each other?

Basic property of magnetic lines of force is that, they can never intersect each other. Among the two points given below, which one is correct? Magnetic lines of force of same magnet can't intersect ...
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How can electric fields be used to detect cracks in metals? [closed]

My physics teacher brought this up in a lecture and I am not exactly sure what he is saying.
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Are the Maxwell's equations enough to derive the law of Coulomb?

Are the 8 Maxwell's equations enough to derive the formula for the electromagnetic field created by a stationary point charge, which is the same as the law of Coulomb $$ F~=~k_e \frac{q_1q_2}{r^2}~? ...
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Popular depictions of electromagnetic wave: is there an error?

Here are some depictions of electromagnetic wave, similar to the depictions in other places: Isn't there an error? It is logical to presume that the electric field should have maximum when magnetic ...
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Why do Neutrinos pass through us but photons can't pass through us? [duplicate]

Neutrinos have no mass and no charge. Therefore, they are not deflected by the other particles in our body and pass through us. Photons too have no mass and no charge, but why are they being deflected ...
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Does rubber dust become magnetic?

My question is: if a rubber belt sustains wear, is it possible for the associated dust to become magnetic? A bit of background here: my workplace was recently contaminated by a fine layer of black ...
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If the strong nuclear force is stronger than electrostatic repulsion, why don't nuclei collapse into a point?

Today in class we were discussing the strong nuclear force, and our teacher was explaining about how the strong nuclear force counteracts the repulsion force between protons in a nucleus. When asked ...
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Trouble understanding the Bohr model of the atom

In this article it says: The electrons can only orbit stably, without radiating, in certain orbits (called by Bohr the "stationary orbits") at a certain discrete set of distances from the nucleus. ...
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Are Classical Field Theory and Quantum Mechanics of a single particle (nonrelativistic or “classical”) limits of Quantum Field Theory?

Recently I talked about QFT with another physicist and mentioned that the Quantum Field Theory of a fermion is a quantisation of its one-particle quantum mechanical theory. He denied this and ...
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What is the physical meaning/concept behind Legendre polynomials?

In mathematical physics and other textbooks we find the Legendre polynomials are solutions of Legendre's differential equations. But I didn't understand where we encounter Legendre's differential ...
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Coulomb's Law in the presence of a strong gravitational field

I was under the impression that the $1/r^2$ falloff of various forces were because of the way the area of a expanding sphere scales. But that strict $1/r^2$ falloff would only be globally true in a ...
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Does a lightning rod prevent lightning strikes?

I was always under the impression that a Lightning rod worked to protect a building by being the tallest part of the building and having a low path of resistance to the ground, thus being a good ...
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An example which contradict to Newton's 3rd law?

Let a,b be two charged particles. $$\vec{r}_a(0)=\vec{0}$$ $$\vec{r}_b(0)=r\hat{j}$$ $$\vec{v}_a(t)=v_a \hat{i}$$ $$\vec{v}_b(t)=v_b\hat{j}$$ In which both $v_a$ and $v_b$ $<<c$. Then $$\...
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Geometric interpretation of Electromagnetism

For gravity, we have General Relativity, which is a geometric theory for gravitation. Is there a similar analog for Electromagnetism?
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Does a current carrying wire produce electric field outside?

In the modern electromagnetism textbooks, electric fields in the presence of stationary currents are assumed to be conservative,$$ \nabla \times E~=~0 ~.$$ Using this we get$$ E_{||}^{\text{out}}~=~E_{...
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At an atomic level, what happens when you connect two batteries in series so that their voltages are added?

I can't for the life of me figure this out. I feel like i'm missing some crucial detail about how batteries work. Imagine two batteries connected in series, like this: ...
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What does it mean for a physical quantity if its mixed second partial derivatives are not equal?

This goes for every problem (either in electromagnetism or fluid dynamics) that has to do with vector fields. Say we have a fluid flowing in a closed circular pipe (or an electromagnetic field, the ...
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Making symmetry between E and B fields manifest in Lagrangian

Maxwell's equations are nearly symmetric between $E$ and $B$. If we add magnetic monopoles, or of course if we restrict ourselves to the sourceless case, then this symmetry is exact. This is not ...
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Is there a topological difference between an electric monopole and an magnetic monopole?

When we introduce magnetic monopoles, we have duality, i.e. invariance under the exchange of electric and magnetic fields. Magnetic (Dirac) monopoles are usually discussed using topological ...
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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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Special relativity and electromagnetism

This Veritasium video explains how electromagnets can be explained by special relativity, and how the magnetic field surrounding a current-carrying wire can also be viewed as an electric field, if ...
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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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Will an emf be induced across the ends of a stationary metal rod placed in a time-varying magnetic field?

Consider a thin metal rod placed in a magnetic field whose direction is constant but whose magnitude is changing with time, with the length of the rod perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic ...
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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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Why doesn't the escape of electromagnetic waves from a microwave depend on the reference frame, because of the Doppler effect?

If an observer traveling towards a microwave oven at almost the speed of light blue shifts the microwaves enough to be visible light, how can the mesh on the oven door still stop to waves from ...
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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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How to experimentally reconstruct Maxwell's equations from scratch

What are the minimal experiments would one need to perform in order to reconstruct Maxwell's equations from scratch, assuming even the concepts of $\vec E$ and $\vec B$ are unknown? While I'm not ...

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