Unified all previous electro-magnetism theories into one equation.
Explains the propagation of light as a wave, and matches the previously known relationship between the speed of light and electromagnetic constants.
The equations are a system of partial differential equation.
The system consists of 6 unknown functions that map 4 variables: time t and the x, y and z positions in space, to a real number:
and two known input functions:
- , , : directions of the electric field
- , , : directions of the magnetic field
- : density of charges in space
- : current vector in space. This represents the strength of moving charges in space.
Also consider the following cases:
- if a spherical charge is moving, then this of course means that is changing with time, and at the same time that a current exists
- in an ideal infinite cylindrical wire however, we can have constant in the wire, but there can still be a current because those charges are movingSuch infinite cylindrical wire is of course an ideal case, but one which is a good approximation to the huge number of electrons that travel in a actual wire.
The goal of finding and is that those fields allow us to determine the force that gets applied to a charge via the Equation "Lorentz force", and then to find the force we just need to integrate over the entire body.
Finally, now that we have defined all terms involved in the Maxwell equations, let's see the equations:
For numerical algorithms and to get a more low level understanding of the equations, we can expand all terms to the simpler and more explicit form:
As seen from explicit scalar form of the Maxwell's equations, this expands to 8 equations, so the question arises if the system is over-determined because it only has 6 functions to be determined.
As explained on the Wikipedia page however, this is not the case, because if the first two equations hold for the initial condition, then the othe six equations imply that they also hold for all time, so they can be essentially omitted.
It is also worth noting that the first two equations don't involve time derivatives. Therefore, they can be seen as spacial constraints.
Static case of Maxwell's law for electricity only.
The "static" part is important: if this law were true for moving charges, we would be able to transmit information instantly at infinite distances. This is basically where the idea of field comes in.
The following suggest no, or only for certain subcases less general than Maxwell's equations:
This is the type of thing where the probability aspect of quantum mechanics seems it could "help".
Not sure it is possible though because the curl appears in the equations:
TODO: I'm surprised that the Wiki page barely talks about it, and there are few Google hits too! A sample one: www.researchgate.net/publication/228928756_On_the_existence_and_uniqueness_of_Maxwell's_equations_in_bounded_domains_with_application_to_magnetotellurics
Section "Maxwell's equations with pointlike particles" asks if the theory would work for pointlike particles in order to predict the evolution of this field as part of the equations themselves rather than as an external element.
The voltage changes perpendicular to the current when magnetic field is applied, Just watch this:
- the direction of the effect proves that electric currents in common electrical conductors are made up of negative charged particles
- measure magnetic fields, TODO vs other methods
Other more precise non-classical versions:
There are several choices of electromagnetic four-potential that lead to the same physics.
E.g. thinking about the electric potential alone, you could set the zero anywhere, and everything would remain be the same.
The Lorentz gauge is just one such choice. It is however a very popular one, because it is also manifestly Lorentz invariant.