Electricity and Magnetism
Originally electricity and magnetism were thought of as two separate forces. This view changed, however, with the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's 1873Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism in which the interactions of positive and negative charges were shown to be regulated by one force. There are four main effects resulting from these interactions, all of which have been clearly demonstrated by experiments: 1. Electric charges attract or repel one another with a force inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them: unlike charges attract, like ones repel. 2. Magnetic poles (or states of polarization at individual points) attract or repel one another in a similar way and always come in pairs: every north pole is yoked to a south pole. 3. An electric current in a wire creates a circular magnetic field around the wire, its direction depending on that of the current. 4. A current is induced in a loop of wire when it is moved towards or away from a magnetic field, or a magnet is moved towards or away from it, the direction of current depending on that of the movement. While preparing for an evening lecture on 21 April 1820, Hans Christian Ørsted made a surprising observation. As he was setting up his materials, he noticed acompass needle deflected from magnetic north when the electric current from the battery he was using was switched on and off. This deflection convinced him that magnetic fields radiate from all sides of a wire carrying an electric current, just as light and heat do, and that it confirmed a direct relationship between electricity and magnetism. At the time of discovery, Ørsted did not suggest any satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon, nor did he try to represent the phenomenon in a mathematical framework. However, three months later he began more intensive investigations. Soon thereafter he published his findings, proving that an electric current produces a magnetic field as it flows through a wire. The CGS unit of magnetic induction (oersted) is named in honor of his contributions to the field of electromagnetism. His findings resulted in intensive research throughout the scientific community in electrodynamics. They influenced French physicist André-Marie Ampère's developments of a single mathematical form to represent the magnetic forces between current-carrying conductors. Ørsted's discovery also represented a major step toward a unified concept of energy. This unification, which was observed by Michael Faraday, extended by James Clerk Maxwell, and partially reformulated by Oliver Heaviside and Heinrich Hertz, is one of the key accomplishments of 19th century mathematical physics. It had far-reaching consequences, one of which was the understanding of the nature oflight. Light and other electromagnetic waves take the form of quantized, self-propagating oscillatory electromagnetic field disturbances called photons. Differentfrequencies of oscillation give rise to the different forms of electromagnetic radiation, from radio waves at the lowest frequencies, to visible light at intermediate frequencies, to gamma rays at the highest frequencies. Ørsted was not the only person to examine the relation between electricity and magnetism. In 1802 Gian Domenico Romagnosi, an Italian legal scholar, deflected a magnetic needle by electrostatic charges. Actually, no galvanic current existed in the setup and hence no electromagnetism was present. An account of the discovery was published in 1802 in an Italian newspaper, but it was largely overlooked by the contemporary scientific community.
Electricity and Magnetism
Electricity and magnetism is an interesting aspect of electricity. We are familiar with in our everyday lives with the phenomenon of static cling - when two objects, such as a piece of Saran wrap and a wool sweater, are rubbed together, they cling. One feature of this that we don't encounter too often is...
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