Physics students learn about the electric field vector E and the magnetic field vector B. In most courses these vectors are taught separately with E introduced first as being produced by a stationary charge and B introduced later as being produced by a moving charge. A common mindset is to consider these fields to be different, just because of the order in which the courses are taught, but fundamentally they are not. They are both aspects of the electromagnetic field and become active in particular situations. In SI units E and B have different measurement units and this tends to cloud their difference. In CGS units E and B have equivalent units and so this system is more suited to electromagnetic calculations as the numerical values of the fields can be directly compared. Many physics students do not realise that electromagnetism is a direct consequence of Einstein's special theory of relativity, as Einstein's 1905 paper on relativity was entitled 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies'. There is no better way of expressing the relationship of electromagnetism to relativity than the following marvellous quote given by Leigh Page, then professor of mathematical physics at Yale, in an address to a meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1941.
Physics and Mathematics
What are the concepts in Physics and Mathematics that students find difficult? In this blog I will post tutorial points that I hope will stimulate thinking and so broaden the knowledge and understanding of students allowing them to write thorough examination responses. Tutorial sheets, structured from a student's point of view, will be posted on the HSC, IB and university level topics of Relativity, Electromagnetism, Mechanics, Quantum Physics and Calculus. The overall purpose of these pages is to encourage and promote learning in Physics and Mathematics and so open new horizons in learning.