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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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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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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Does Feynman's derivation of Maxwell's equations have a physical interpretation?

There are so many times that something leaves you stumped. I was recently reading the paper "Feynman's derivation of Maxwell's equations and extra dimensions" and the derivation of the Maxwell's ...
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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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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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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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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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Do Maxwell's equation describe a single photon or an infinite number of photons?

The paper Gloge, Marcuse 1969: Formal Quantum Theory of Light Rays starts with the sentence Maxwell's theory can be considered as the quantum theory of a single photon and geometrical optics as ...
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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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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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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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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 $...
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How to read Maxwell's Equations?

I was talking with a colleague about Maxwell's Equation, in particular Faraday's Law of Induction, and I realised that I did not understand the following. Usually, this equation is expressed as: The ...
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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. ...
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What is the complete proof that the speed of light in vacuum is constant in relativistic mechanics?

I study maths in uni and we have a course about relativity. In the main principles I've read that the speed of light is invariant since we can calculate it from the Maxwell equations. My problem ...
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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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What is special about Maxwell's equations?

What is special about Maxwell's equations? If I have read correctly, what Maxwell basically did is combine 4 equations that were already formulated by other physicists as a set of equations. Why are ...
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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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Why do Maxwell's equations contain each of a scalar, vector, pseudovector and pseudoscalar equation?

Maxwell's equations, in differential form, are $$\left\{\begin{align} \vec\nabla\cdot\vec{E}&=~\rho/\epsilon_0,\\ \vec\nabla\times\vec B~&=~\mu_0\vec J+\epsilon_0\mu_0\frac{\partial\vec E}{\...
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Maxwell's Equations using Differential Forms

Maxwell's Equations written with usual vector calculus are $$\nabla \cdot E=\rho/\epsilon_0 \qquad \nabla \cdot B=0$$ $$\nabla\times E=-\dfrac{\partial B}{\partial t} \qquad\nabla\times B=\mu_0j+\...
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Electromagnetism problem: where does the magnetic field come from?

Consider the following problem: Consider a plane with uniform charge density $\sigma$. Above the said plane, there is a system of conducting wires made up of an U-shaped circuit on which a linear ...
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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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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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Are the Maxwell equations a correct description of the wave character of photons?

In basic quantum mechanics courses, one describes the evolution of quantum mechanics chronologically. Interference experiments with particles showed that particles should have a wave character; on the ...
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Is Maxwell's field the wave function of the photon?

In his ArXiv paper What is Quantum Field Theory, and What Did We Think It Is? Weinberg states on page 2: In fact, it was quite soon after the Born–Heisenberg–Jordan paper of 1926 that the idea ...
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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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How can I show that the speed of light in vacuum is the same in all reference frames?

I have regularly heard that the Michelson-Morley experiment demonstrates that the speed of light is constant in all reference frames. By doing some research I have found that it actually demonstrated ...
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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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Divergence of a field and its interpretation

The divergence of an electric field due to a point charge (according to Coulomb's law) is zero. In literature the divergence of a field indicates presence/absence of a sink/source for the field. ...
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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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Do the integral forms of Maxwell's Equations have limited applicability because of retardation?

In the usual bookwork treatment, it is easy to show that the differential and integral forms of Maxwell's equations are equivalent using Gauss's and Stokes's theorems. I have always thought that ...
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What could magnetic monopoles do that electrically charged particles can't?

I understand the significance to physics, but what can a magnetic monopole be used for assuming we could free them from spin ice and put them to work? What would be a magnetic version of electricity? ...
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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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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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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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Are Maxwell's equations “physical”?

The canonical Maxwell's equations are derivable from the Lagrangian $${\cal L} = -\frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} $$ by solving the Euler-Lagrange equations. However: The Lagrangian above is ...
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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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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'...
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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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Deriving Biot-Savart Law from Maxwell's Equations

As an exercise, I've been trying to derive the Biot-Savart law from the second set of Maxwell's equations for steady-state current $$\begin{align}&\nabla\cdot\mathbf{B}=0&&\nabla\times\...
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Would a rotating magnet emit photons?

If a magnet is rotating, around an axis perpendicular to the axis north-south axis of the magnet (which I assume to be cylindrical symmetrical), in space (so no-gravity/freefall or friction), should ...
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Validity of Maxwell's equations with no aether or relativity?

In From Paradox to Reality: Our Basic Concepts of the Physical World by Fritz Rohrlich page 55 it states that [...] just doing away with the ether would not have resolved all problems. The problems ...
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How can KVL & KCL be derived from Maxwell equations?

How can KVL (Kirchhoff's Voltage Law) & KCL (Kirchhoff's Current law) be derived from Maxwell equations in lumped circuits? (Lumped network: if $d$ is the largest dimension of the network and $\...
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Equivalence of two formulation of Maxwell equations on manifolds

I have read about a generalization of Maxwell equation on manifolds that employs differential forms and Hodge duality that goes as follow: $$dF = 0\qquad \text{and}\qquad d \star F = J.\tag{1}$$ As I ...
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Symmetry in electricity and magnetism due to magnetic monopoles

I was wondering about the differences between electricity and magnetism in the context of Maxwell's equations. When I thought over it, I came to the conclusion that the only difference between the two ...
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Maxwell's equations in curved spacetime

I know that we can write Maxwell's equations in the covariant form, and this covariant form can be considered as a generalization of these equations in curved spacetime if we replace ordinary ...
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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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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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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 ...