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Maxwell's Four Equations

February 14th Fact-of-the-Day

In the 1870's James Clerk Maxwell was able to put together four important equations that govern the three-dimensional electric and magnetic fields in electromagnetic energy. He did that merely on the basis of early experimental evidence obtained by means that are crude by today's standards. Even so, his equations have withstood the test of time and still are important today, not only because they define all points in the electric and magnetic three-dimensional vector fields, but because they can be used to establish the wave nature of electromagnetic radiation. They can be rewritten in several forms. Stokes' theorem can be used to rewrite two of them to show that the curl of the electric field always is zero. The divergence theorem can be used to rewrite the other two to show that the divergence of the electric field is proportional to the charge density. ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.


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