Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

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Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#1  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 3:29 pm

Historical Background

Since the science section is "a bit quiet", here's my contribution towards warming things up a little. I hope you find it interesting and useful, and/or you can give me some feedback to improve it.

Einstein won his Nobel prize primarily for his 1905 photoelectric paper "On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light". This established the quantum nature of light. Another paper in this his mirabalis year was "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies". This is electrodynamics and refers to Maxwell, but is considered to be Einstein's special relativity paper. Another important paper was "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?" concerning mass and energy. This is of course where Einstein refers to a body losing mass via radiation, and where E=mc² comes from. He’s mainly remembered for gravity and The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity (3.6Mbytes), and there's a tendency to overlook the fact that that he was in on the ground floor of quantum mechanics in 1905, and a tendency to overlook the electromagnetism content. People tend not to hear about things like his 1920 Leyden Address where he said this:

Einstein wrote:Of course it would be a great advance if we could succeed in comprehending the gravitational field and the electromagnetic field together as one unified conformation. Then for the first time the epoch of theoretical physics founded by Faraday and Maxwell would reach a satisfactory conclusion.


Some people even think he was against quantum mechanics, but he wasn't, he was against the "spooky" Copenhagen Interpretation, that's all. He was still centre stage at the 1927 Solvay Conference, which discussed the Copenhagen Interpretation. Einstein essentially lost the argument:

Image

After this he was still lauded by the media and public, but became somewhat detached from quantum mechanics, which then morphed into quantum field theory, quantum electrodynamics, and so on. Anyhow, Einstein ended up as "trophy" at Princeton, largely out of the mainstream, still trying to unify electromagnetism and gravity to come up with a unified field theory. Electromagnetism was always very important to Einstein. He had pictures of Faraday and Maxwell on the wall of his study. If all this is a surprise to you, I'd say it's an example of how reading the original material sometimes puts a different slant on things. Then you start noticing things, like a little something in Minkowski’s Space and Time paper from 1908. Most people are aware that this constituted an important development for special relativity. However very few people pay much attention to this little paragraph two pages from the back:

Minkowski wrote:"Then in the description of the field produced by the electron we see that the separation of the field into electric and magnetic force is a relative one with regard to the underlying time axis; the most perspicious way of describing the two forces together is on a certain analogy with the wrench in mechanics, though the analogy is not complete".


It isn't online as far as I know, but see page 73 of The Principle of Relativity: A collection of Original Memoirs on the Special and General Theory of Relativity. You scratch your chin and wonder about this, then you read some original Maxwell. It's very different to what is described as Maxwell's Equations. That's because "Maxwell's Equations" aren't Maxwell's equations, because Heaviside rewrote them in vector form. Maxwell wasn't talking about vector fields. His seminal is paper On Physical Lines of Force. On page 53 he says this:

Maxwell wrote:A motion of translation along an axis cannot produce a rotation about that axis unless it meets with some special mechanism, like that of a screw.


He's talking about a screw mechanism, which is what Minkowski's wrench was all about - a wrench turns a bolt, which has a screw thread. And look at the page heading. It's The Theory of Molecular Vortices. Maxwell was suggesting that the electromagnetic field was a sea of vortices, and particles moved through it. This picture is a reproduction of one in On Physical Lines of Force:

Image

If you're anything like me you're saying Huh? What? Then you read things like A Circular History of Knot Theory mentioning Kelvin's theory of vortex atoms. After a while it sinks in what Maxwell was talking about, and then you realise he missed a trick. He got it back to front. Here's why.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#2  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 3:31 pm

Visualizing a slice through a cylindrical electromagnetic field

Look at the right-hand rule on English wikipedia. For a current in a wire, your thumb points in the direction of the current flow, and your fingers “are curled to match the curvature and direction of the motion or the magnetic field”.

Image

But note it’s one field, it’s the electromagnetic field, not separate electric fields and magnetic fields. Maxwell knew it, Minkowski knew it, and Oleg jefimenko knew it. Jefimenko's equations are a useful reminder in this respect.

Jefimenko wrote:"...neither Maxwell's equations nor their solutions indicate an existence of causal links between electric and magnetic fields. Therefore, we must conclude that an electromagnetic field is a dual entity always having an electric and a magnetic component simultaneously created by their common sources: time-variable electric charges and currents."


The electromagnetic field is a dual entity, there’s only one field there. Moving through an electric field doesn’t cause a magnetic field to be generated, because as Minkowski said, it’s the field, and it exerts force in two ways. What does it look like? It doesn’t actually look like anything, but iron filings on a piece of paper tells you that you can visualize a field, even if it's just a flat slice through it. And to visualise the complete electromagnetic field, you need a drill bit or a reamer:

Image

If I look at it from the top it reminds me of an electric vector field, like this one from Andrew Duffy’s PY106 physics course material at http://physics.bu.edu/~duffy/ :

Image

When I then look at the rotational magnetic vector lines of the right-hand-rule, I'm searching for a combined visualisation. So I grab a reamer in my right fist, put my left thumb on the bottom of it, and push upwards. It turns. I'm emulating the right-hand rule for the current in the wire. The reamer is giving an analogy of the cylindrical electromagnetic field around a vertical column of electrons. Pushing upwards is emulating the current flow, and the rotation I can feel is the magnetic curl or rot. The current flows, and the result is rotation, as demonstrated by Faraday way back in 1844:

Image

See this NASA electromagnetism page for a little more history. Minkowski referred to a wrench and Maxwell referred to a screw because the electromagnetic field really is like this. It’s essentially a “twist” field. Motion through it results in “turn”. Or vice-versa. Start with forward motion like with a pump-action screwdriver, and you get rotation, turn. Turn a screw with a screwdriver and the twist results in forward motion, so you can induce a current up the wire. This is why we have dynamos and generators, because this is how the electromagnetic field is. It's a "twist/turn field", as borne out by the physical evidence of say galactic jets, where two streams of charged particles moving at different velocities spiral around each other. The magnetic field is the "turn" aspect of this, that's why we talk of curl or rot. Because rot is short for rotor, and it really makes things turn:

Image

The reamer depicts the electromagnetic field for a column of electrons, at an imaginary cylindrical surface some distance round the wire. You have to use a fatter reamer to visualize the electromagnetic field for a larger cylindrical surface. Then to match the way the field diminishes with distance, the degree of twist has to reduce. So imagine a continuous series of fatter and fatter reamers, all occupying the same space, all with the twist diminishing. Now take a horizontal slice through this set of reamers. You’re also taking a horizontal slice through an electron’s electromagnetic field, and it's going to be something like this:

Image

That’s what the electron’s electromagnetic field would "look like" if you sliced through it from any direction. Let your eyes linger on it. It looks rather like a vortex, but at the heart of it is an electron. The electron is the vortex. That's was Maxwell's mistake. The vortex is in the particle, not in the intervening space. If only he'd got that right or somebody had fixed it! A slice through the electromagnetic field looks spiral because it combines the radial electric field lines with the concentric magnetic field lines.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#3  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 3:32 pm

A very useful fluid analogy

To really "get it" in a visceral way, I urge you to try out Falaco solitons. These offer a fluid analogy that demonstrates a vorticial pair production, attraction, repulsion, and annihilation. For some reason people have difficulty accepting this until they've had some form of demonstration. The fluid analogy is by no means perfect, but I really do recommend it. You dip a plate into a pool, then stroke it gently forward while lifting it clear. You make a U-tube double whirlpool which moves gently forward through the water:

Image

That's something like pair production. Now create another Falaco soliton aimed towards the first, and repeat with various aims. Watch carefully. When the left-hand-side of one double whirlpool is near the left-hand-side of the other, the two similar whirlpools steer clear of one another. When the left-hand-side of one double whirlpool is near the right-hand-side of the other, the two opposite whirlpools move together. That's essentially attraction and repulsion. If you aim two double whirlpools straight at one another, face on, they meet and merge and disappear. This is best in a shallow pond with muddy bottom, when you see a surprisingly energetic kick-up. That's essentially annihilation. There's even something that looks as if it might be akin to low-temperature superconduction. Make two Falaco solitons in quick succession, and watch how the second one daisy-chains through the first, moving forward more rapidly than when it's on its own. It's all just a fluid analogy and it's by no means perfect, but it gets it across very well. Something else it gets across is that there's this round thing there in the water that's made out of movement. it isn't some point-particle, it isn't some billiard-ball, but nevertheless it's there. This is how you should think about a particle like an electron. It isn't some point-particle, and it isn't some billiard ball, it's just spinning stress-energy. Take away that spin, and the electron isn't there any more.

But note that neither a Falaco soliton nor an electron is a whirlpool. There's rotation, but there's nothing flowing inwards towards the centre. And for the electron, there's nothing rotating once you move away from the centre. The electron works more like an office floor polisher on a rubber sheet. Only there is no floor polisher, just the rotation, like a ripple in the rubber sheet going round and round. The rotation twists the rubber sheet round. If you're riding one of these kiddies and I'm riding another, then if the rotations are both clockwise or anticlockwise, we move together. If they're opposite, we move apart. Hence attraction and repulsion. And as you can imagine, if we were scooting around, there's going to be a bit of pirouetting going on.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#4  Postby Nautilidae » Jun 22, 2010 3:36 pm

Oh good lord. This is the same stuff that you were peddling on Rationalia.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#5  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 3:39 pm

Spin is classical

I don't know if you appreciate the significance of this, but it means spin is isn't "intrinsic" after all. It's classical. See the wiki Stern-Gerlach article which says:

If the particles are classical, "spinning" particles, then the distribution of their spin angular momentum vectors is taken to be truly random and each particle would be deflected up or down by a different amount...

The experiment shows that this doesn't happen, so we know the particles aren't spinning spheres. However the article, which is in line with the current consensus, goes on to say:

Electrons are spin-1⁄2 particles. These have only two possible spin angular momentum values, called spin-up and spin-down. The exact value in the z direction is +ħ/2 or −ħ/2. If this value arises as a result of the particles rotating the way a planet rotates, then the individual particles would have to be spinning impossibly fast. The speed of rotation would be in excess of the speed of light, 2.998×108 m/s, and is thus impossible.

There's actually nothing wrong with that, but here comes the non-sequitur:

Thus, the spin angular momentum has nothing to do with rotation and is a purely quantum mechanical phenomenon. That is why it is sometimes known as the "intrinsic angular momentum."

Whoa! We've established that the particle isn't rotating like a planet, but why can't it be rotating in some other fashion? There is no justification here for asserting that spin angular momentum has nothing to do with rotation, particularly since the electron exhibits magnetic dipole moment. And particularly since the Einstein-de Haas effect demonstrates that "spin angular momentum is indeed of the same nature as the angular momentum of rotating bodies as conceived in classical mechanics". It's easy to see what's happening in the Stern-Gerlach experiment, especially if you've played football and practised your free kicks. Imagine a whole bunch of spheres, like this:

Image

Now give them an earth-style spin to give yourself a set of "classical particles". Next, jumble them around so that the spin axes point in a variety of directions, then throw them through the inhomogeneous magnetic field. You'd see a line on the screen as per the classical prediction:

Image

Now collect all your still-spinning particles together again, and set them down on the table like a bunch of spinning globes. Now give them another spin in another orientation. Spin the spin axis. You have two choices as regards this new spin direction, this way: ↓O↑, or that way: ↑O↓. Now throw them through the inhomogeneous magnetic field and ask yourself what you'd see. Two spots, because there are two chiralities to the two compound spins. Apart from that, you can't say which way they're spinning. Spin a glass clock like a coin, and the rotation of the hands is clockwise when its face-on, anticlockwise when its rear-on, clockwise when its face-on, and so on. It's spinning both clockwise and anticlockwise. Spin the glass clock with your other hand and the compound rotation is different, but you can only describe the difference by using terms like spin-up and spin-down.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#6  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 3:40 pm

Discussion

All of this hopefully provides a coherent geometrical picture of the electromagnetic field as a "twist/turn" field. Charged particles can be likened to doubly-spinning rotors which move both linearly and rotationally, because they curve or curl the surrounding space, interacting with other charged particles. This then presents an interesting conceptualization of the electromagnetic wave and hopefully takes us to some interesting places.

Image

I'll leave it at that for now. let me know what you think.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#7  Postby ChildInAZoo » Jun 22, 2010 4:15 pm

Nautilidae wrote:Oh good lord. This is the same stuff that you were peddling on Rationalia.

How is he going to sell his self-published book of physics (minus the mathematics and the comparison of predictions to results) without solicitation on as many message boards as he can find?
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#8  Postby Nautilidae » Jun 22, 2010 4:27 pm

ChildInAZoo wrote:
Nautilidae wrote:Oh good lord. This is the same stuff that you were peddling on Rationalia.

How is he going to sell his self-published book of physics (minus the mathematics and the comparison of predictions to results) without solicitation on as many message boards as he can find?


He could always hosts seminars, like Nassim Haramein.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#9  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 7:52 pm

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people there are around who post silly trash to disrupt the sincere intelligent threads that make a forum successful and interesting. And how moderators don't moderate the trash, but censor the good stuff. So the forum slowly fades away.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#10  Postby campermon » Jun 22, 2010 8:01 pm

Farsight wrote:It never ceases to amaze me just how many people there are around who post silly trash to disrupt the sincere intelligent threads that make a forum successful and interesting. And how moderators don't moderate the trash, but censor the good stuff. So the forum slowly fades away.


Corrected!

:lol:
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#11  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 8:09 pm

Ah, another guy who only posts silly trash. Is that all that's left on the physical sciences section of this forum?
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#12  Postby Nautilidae » Jun 22, 2010 8:16 pm

Farsight wrote:It never ceases to amaze me just how many people there are around who post silly trash to disrupt the sincere intelligent threads that make a forum successful and interesting.


It's already been discussed. You've been peddling your ideas for months now, and it's beginning to get irritating. You've brought nothing but the same, tired arguments that people have discussed and refuted on Rationalia. Unless you bring something new to the table, don't expect us to give your ideas any thoughts we haven't already. Your arguments that are supposed "evidence" for your idea are already well established in quantum electrodynamics. This has been pointed out to you multiple times. I repeat: unless you can bring anything but your same, recycled ideas to the table, we will not give them any thought.

Another thing; calling every post someone has ever made on this forum "silly trash" is completely unfounded. If you had actually read more than 1/3 of our posts, you would have known that campermon and myself have taken part in many interesting discussions of a scientific nature.

NOTE: Both of your posts have been reported.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#13  Postby newolder » Jun 22, 2010 8:23 pm

:coffee: 'sup? :smoke:
Geometric forgetting gives me loops. - Nima A-H
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#14  Postby Nautilidae » Jun 22, 2010 8:26 pm

newolder wrote::coffee: 'sup? :smoke:


Nothing much. We are asking Farsight to reinforce his pseudoscience with arguments that haven't been used before.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#15  Postby campermon » Jun 22, 2010 8:33 pm

Farsight wrote:Ah, another guy who only posts silly trash. Is that all that's left on the physical sciences section of this forum?


This could end in some sort of infinite regression type thing....

:whine:
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#16  Postby campermon » Jun 22, 2010 8:35 pm

Nautilidae wrote:
Farsight wrote:It never ceases to amaze me just how many people there are around who post silly trash to disrupt the sincere intelligent threads that make a forum successful and interesting.


It's already been discussed. You've been peddling your ideas for months now, and it's beginning to get irritating. You've brought nothing but the same, tired arguments that people have discussed and refuted on Rationalia. Unless you bring something new to the table, don't expect us to give your ideas any thoughts we haven't already. Your arguments that are supposed "evidence" for your idea are already well established in quantum electrodynamics. This has been pointed out to you multiple times. I repeat: unless you can bring anything but your same, recycled ideas to the table, we will not give them any thought.

Another thing; calling every post someone has ever made on this forum "silly trash" is completely unfounded. If you had actually read more than 1/3 of our posts, you would have known that campermon and myself have taken part in many interesting discussions of a scientific nature.

NOTE: Both of your posts have been reported.


:clap:

Yes. He was also on the RDF for a while....same thing.

;)
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#17  Postby Sityl » Jun 22, 2010 8:43 pm

This thread needs more cowbell. :coffee:
Stephen Colbert wrote:Now, like all great theologies, Bill [O'Reilly]'s can be boiled down to one sentence - 'There must be a god, because I don't know how things work.'


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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#18  Postby newolder » Jun 22, 2010 8:50 pm

campermon wrote:
Farsight wrote:Ah, another guy who only posts silly trash. Is that all that's left on the physical sciences section of this forum?


This could end in some sort of infinite regression type thing....

:whine:

The track record, including physicsforums.com, for this monicker isn't good. :popcorn:
Geometric forgetting gives me loops. - Nima A-H
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#19  Postby Farsight » Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm

Nautilidae wrote:It's already been discussed. You've been peddling your ideas for months now, and it's beginning to get irritating. You've brought nothing but the same, tired arguments that people have discussed and refuted on Rationalia.
Geddoutofit, they weren't refuted at all. Not a bit. Want to prove me wrong and point that out? No, you won't, because I wiped the floor with them.

Nautilidae wrote:Unless you bring something new to the table, don't expect us to give your ideas any thoughts...
LOL, you've never given any of it any thought.

Nautilidae wrote:Your arguments that are supposed "evidence" for your idea are already well established in quantum electrodynamics. This has been pointed out to you multiple times. I repeat: unless you can bring anything but your same, recycled ideas to the table, we will not give them any thought.
You make it so obvious that you haven't read any of the threads I've posted. The evidence is robust scientific evidence, and the idea goes all the way back to Maxwell.

Nautilidae wrote:Another thing; calling every post someone has ever made on this forum "silly trash" is completely unfounded. If you had actually read more than 1/3 of our posts, you would have known that campermon and myself have taken part in many interesting discussions of a scientific nature. NOTE: Both of your posts have been reported.
Not nearly enough "interesting discussions of a scientific nature" to make up for the way driving people away from the forum and turning it into a science-free zone.

Oh and what have we got here: num1cubfn, let's see now. Groan.
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Re: Relativity and the Electromagnetic Field

#20  Postby campermon » Jun 22, 2010 9:40 pm

Quit trolling farsight.
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