Thursday, May 19, 2005


As part of my discussion on physics, it's useful to go into a little more detail on electromagnetism.

This includes three or four areas, at least from an elementary point of view. These are:

1) Electrostatics. This refers to the behavior of electricity and electric charge and related quantities, at rest.

2) Electric current. This refers to the behavior of electric charge in motion, and includes various kinds of electric circuits. Electrostatics and electric current are often combined under electricity.

3) Magnetism. This refers to magnets, both from magnetic fields and from electric currents.

4) Optics. This refers to light and electromagnetic radiation in general.

These subjects depend heavily on mechanics. Many of the concepts of electromagnetism are most easily introduced from classical mechanics. There is a certain analogy with gravitation, and relativity was developed as an attempt to reconcile certain findings in electromagnetic theory with mechanics. From an advanced point of view, these are closely connected. At small scales, electromagnetism is also closely tied to quantum mechanics as well. The role of thermodynamics is not greatly important except for thermal radiation. There are close connections with the structure of matter.
The other sciences of chemistry, astronomy, earth science, and biology mostly furnish examples of electromagnetism. Biographies of prominent and pioneering scientists, and various associations can be examined. There are numerous textbooks that include discussions of electromagnetism, most of them discussing mathematical relationships. The techniques of working with it vary according to the specific subject. Various instruments are required, since the quantities involved are mostly invisible. Practical application, the importance in various societies, and the history are also useful studies.

I don't have any particular recommendations, for study of this subject until some other time.


Jonah Dempcy said...

Here's a site with electromagnetism visualizations in Flash:

Confutus said...

Definitely not the accepted theory of electromagnetism. I can't recommend this site as a reliable source of information.