Questions tagged [maxwell-equations]

A set of four equations that define electrodynamics. They comprise the Gauss laws for the electric and magnetic fields, the Faraday law, and the Ampère law. Together, these equations uniquely determine the electric and magnetic fields of a physical system. Do not use this tag for the thermodynamical equations known as Maxwell's relations.

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92
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13answers
15k views

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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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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7answers
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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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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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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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Maxwell in multiple dimensions: What happens to curl?

I read this answer a while ago, and while thinking about $\nabla$, I realized something. Since the cross product can be written as a determinant, in higher dimensions we require extra vector inputs. ...
13
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4answers
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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}~? ...
13
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3answers
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Maxwells Equation from 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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Deriving the speed of the propagation of a change in the Electromagnetic Field from Maxwell's Equations

I've been told that, from Maxwell's equations, one can find that the propagation of change in the Electromagnetic Field travels at a speed $\frac{1}{\sqrt{\mu_0 \epsilon_0}}$ (the values of which can ...
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4answers
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Least-action classical electrodynamics without potentials

Is it possible to formulate classical electrodynamics (in the sense of deriving Maxwell's equations) from a least-action principle, without the use of potentials? That is, is there a lagrangian which ...
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Electrodynamics and the Lagrangian density

Could anyone tell me what equations can I obtain from the Lagrangian density $${\cal L}(\phi,\,\,\phi_{,i},\,\,A_i, \dot A_i,\,\,A_{i,j})~=~\frac{1}{2}|\dot A+\nabla\phi|^2-\frac{1}{2}|\nabla \times ...
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Does existence of magnetic monopole break covariant form of Maxwell’s equations for potentials?

Absence of magnetic charges is reflected in one of Maxwell's fundamental equations: $$\operatorname{div} \vec B = 0. \tag1$$ This equation allows us to introducte concept of vector potential: $$\vec B ...
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3answers
840 views

How to understand holography and hologram

I've spent some time reading wiki etc. What I get now is that apart from the normal light amplitude information, holograms also record the phase information of light. But this is so difficult for me ...
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What's the difference between magnetic fields H and B?

As per Wikipedia: "The term (Magnetic Field) is used for two distinct but closely related fields denoted by the symbols B and H, where H is measured in units of amperes per meter in the SI. B is ...
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Can the Lorentz force expression be derived from Maxwell's equations?

The electromagnetic force on a charge $e$ is $$F=e(E+v\times B),$$ the Lorentz force. But, is this a separate assumption added to the full Maxwell's equations? (the result of some empirical ...
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Can light exist in $2+1$ or $1+1$ spacetime dimensions?

Spacetime of special relativity is frequently illustrated with its spatial part reduced to one or two spatial dimension (with light sector or cone, respectively). Taken literally, is it possible for $...
29
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What different approximations yield Gravitoelectromagnetism and Weak Field Einstein Equations?

This question is inspired by this answer, which cites Gravitoelectromagnetism (GEM) as a valid approximation to the Einstein Field Equations (EFE). The wonted presentation of gravitational waves is ...
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What are the differences between the differential and integral forms of (e.g. Maxwell's) equations?

I would like to understand what has to be differential and integral form of the same function, for example the famous equations of James Clerk Maxwell: How to know where to apply each way? Excuse the ...
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Physical meaning of Maxwell's equations and origin of EM waves

Is it possible to describe the physical meaning of Maxwell's equations and show how they lead to electromagnetic wave, with little involvement of mathematics ?
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Displacement current - how to think of it

What is a good way to think of the displacement current? Maxwell imagined it as being movements in the aether, small changed of electric field producing magnetic field. I don't even understand that ...
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How to use Ampere's Law for a semi-infinite wire with current?

Suppose that there is a semi-infinite wire which extends to infinity only in one direction. There are no other circuit elements at the other end(finite end) of the wire and the current does not loop. ...
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Which form of Maxwell's equations is fundamental, in integral form or differential form?

I am not sure which form of Maxwell's equations is fundamental, integral form or differential form. Imagine an ideal infinitely long solenoid. When a current is changing in time, can we detect ...
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Why did Feynman's thesis almost work?

A bit of background helps frame this question. The question itself is in the last sentence. For his PhD thesis, Richard Feynman and his thesis adviser John Archibald Wheeler devised an astonishingly ...
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can one introduce magnetic monopoles without Dirac strings?

To introduce magnetic monopoles in Maxwell equations, Dirac uses special strings, that are singularities in space, allowing potentials to be gauge potentials. A consequence of this is the quantization ...
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Do we need Maxwell's Equations since they fail to account for an experimental fact at least in one occasion? [closed]

This question is an outgrowth of What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? , where @sb1 mentioned Faraday's law. However, ...
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Why is the divergence of a magnetic field equal to zero?

We know due to Maxwell's equations that: $$\vec{\nabla} \cdot \vec{B}=0$$ But if we get far from the magnetic field, shouldn't it be weaker? Shouldn't the divergence of the field be positive? If ...
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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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Is magnetic reconnection reconcilable with magnetic field lines neither starting nor ending?

According to Maxwell's equations, magnetic fields are divergence-free: $\nabla \cdot \mathbf{B} = 0$. If I understand this correctly, this means that magnetic field lines do not start or end. How can ...
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Proof of Ampère's law from the Biot-Savart law for tridimensional current distributions

Let us assume the validity of the Biot-Savart law for a tridimensional distribution of current:$$\mathbf{B}(\mathbf{x})=\frac{\mu_0}{4\pi}\int_V \mathbf{J}(\mathbf{y})\times\frac{\mathbf{x}-\mathbf{y}}...
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Exactly how is the constant measured velocity of light deduced from Maxwell's equation?

For electromagnetic radiation the velocity of propagation is $c = 1/\sqrt{\mu_0 \epsilon_0}$. Since both $\mu_0$ and $\epsilon_0$ do not vary in any inertial frame, then $c$ must be constant in any ...
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The necessity of the B field

It is fairly easy using basic special relativity to arrive at the conclusion that the magnetic force effect on nearby charges of wires carrying currents on nearby charges is only due to the length ...
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1answer
785 views

EMF in a single moving wire in a magnetic field

Suppose we have a single open circuit wire, moving with speed $v$ inside an infinite and uniform magnetic field $B$. Wire has a length of $L$ and it moves perpendicular to magnetic field. In this case ...
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What is the physical significance of the Dipole Transformation of Maxwell's Equations?

The Question Given Maxwell's equations of the form \begin{align} \bar{\nabla}\times \bar{B} = \dfrac{4\pi}{c} \bar{J} + \partial_0 \bar{E} \\ \bar{\nabla}\times \bar{E} = -\partial_0 \bar{B} \\ \bar{...
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2answers
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Can Dirac equation be reformulated in an equivalent tensor form?

1) Can Dirac equation (including bispinors) be represented by a tensor formalism? 2) If yes, what kind of tensors could be the components of the wave function in Dirac equation in such formulation? ...
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Fields of a moving electron

Suppose an electron is moving through empty space at speed v. It produces an electric field because it is a charge. But this field changes as it moves. Changing electric field must give rise to ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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How do you go from quantum electrodynamics to Maxwell's equations?

I've read and heard that quantum electrodynamics is more fundamental than maxwells equations. How do you go from quantum electrodynamics to Maxwell's equations?
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Do light waves precisely follow null geodesic paths in General Relativity?

In special relativity one may show that a plane wave solution of Maxwell's equations (in a vacuum), of the form $A^a=C^a\mathrm{e}^{\mathrm{i}\psi}$ has the following properties: The normal $k:=\...
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Faraday's law - does the induced current's magnetic field affect the change in flux?

I've had this conceptual problem with Faraday's law and inductance for a while now. Take the example of a simple current loop with increasing area in a constant field (as in this answer). So Faraday'...
14
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3answers
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How is the curl of the electric field possible?

Taking the curl of the electric field must be possible, because Faraday's law involves it: $$\nabla \times \mathbf{E} = - \partial \mathbf{B} / \partial t$$ But I've just looked on Wikipedia, where it ...
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Derivation of the speed of light using the integral forms of Maxwell's Equations

Having just finished physics 2, I've been (slightly) exposed to showing that light is a wave with speed $1/\sqrt{\mu _0 \epsilon _0 }$ using the differential forms of Maxwell's equations, though this ...
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1answer
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Recovering all of Maxwell's equations from the variational principle

Whether you can get the first couple of Maxwell equations from a variational principle? In the second volume of the Landau theoretical physics said that it is impossible.
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Are wave equations equivalent to Maxwell's equations in free space?

In free space, do Maxwell's equations contain the same amount of information regarding electric and magnetic fields as is contained in the wave equations derived from them? If so, how?
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How to interpret the continuity conditions in the PDEs (for example, Maxwell equations) originated in physics?

I am currently working on PDEs in physics, mostly Maxwell equations. I am a mathematics graduate student, and this question has been haunting me for years. In PDE theory, or more specifically the ...
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Do we fix divergence of the vector potential $A$, because $\nabla \cdot \nabla \psi \ne 0$?

Because $\nabla \times \nabla \psi = 0$, we can transform the vector potential $A \longmapsto A + \nabla \psi$, without changing the magnetic field. Is the reason we specify $\nabla \cdot A$ in the ...
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Why aren't Faraday's law of induction and Maxwell-Ampere's law (without sources) symmetric?

I was wondering why Faraday's law of induction and Maxwell-Ampere's law (without sources) are not totally symmetric in the sense that Maxwell-Ampere's law has a $\epsilon_0 \mu_0$ term on the right (...
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1answer
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A question on the unification of electricity and magnetism

As far as I understand it, Maxwell's equations unify the theories of electricity and magnetism, however, I don't see how they show that the electric field, $\mathbf{E}$ and the magnetic field, $\...
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What is the experimental evidence that light is an electromagnetic wave?

Do we have any experimental evidence to confirm that light is an electromagnetic wave? Or is it confirmed simply by Maxwell's equations showing a similarity in speed?
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0answers
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Confusion in reaction force of Ampere's Force Law [closed]

I am reading Maxwell's "A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism" and I have some confusion in the following pages: The element ds is resolved into its components $\alpha$ and $\beta$;and the element ...
6
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1answer
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Simple explanation to the induction from the slowly changing $\vec B$ of a solenoid in the region of $0$ magnetic field

I would like to get some elementary intuition into the problem a solenoid fed with a time-dependent current, and the resulting current that such the solenoid field would induce in a loop completely ...