Biological examples of a Biot-Savart law in magnetostatics?

In summary: First of all Biot-Savart more generally expresses the contribution to the magnetic field of current ##I## running in length element ##d\mathbf{l}##. The current need not be constant. To a good approximation, there will be an instantaneous magnetic field value corresponding to an instantaneous value of the current.That said, your initial thought is correct. To give you an example of a biological application of this law, consider the electric eel. They generate a significant magnetic field through their electric discharge. This helps them find and capture prey. Thanks for the link; it was very interesting. BTW, remember the movie "Brainstorm" where
  • #1
MarkTheQuark
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Hello everyone,

So, I was wondering, the Biot-savart show us a magnetic field created by a constant electric current. Initially I thought that an example would be biological systems with a nervous system that works on the basis of electrical discharges, but I don't think it's a valid example anymore.
Does anyone know some example of biological application of this law in magnetosthatics?
 
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  • #2
First of all Biot-Savart more generally expresses the contribution to the magnetic field of current ##I## running in length element ##d\mathbf{l}##. The current need not be constant. To a good approximation, there will be an instantaneous magnetic field value corresponding to an instantaneous value of the current.

That said, your initial thought is correct. Read about magnetoencephalography (MEG) here. This is but one link. There are more if you care to look further. I would have posted sooner had I seen this earlier.
 
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  • #3
kuruman said:
Read about magnetoencephalography (MEG) here.
Thanks for the link; it was very interesting.

BTW, remember the movie "Brainstorm" where the Industrial Designer says "Nobody is going to put a thing like that on their head!" and then proceeds to redesign it to make it look way better? That's what I thought of when I saw this image at that link:

1664317968218.png
 
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I never saw "Brainstorm". However, I do remember hearing a talk in the mid-seventies by a NYU researcher (I forgot his name) about this when it was in the embryo stage before . They were measuring spatial changes in magnetic field signals produced by the human brain. SQUIDs were not readily available then, so they fashioned two Helmholtz coils wired antiparallel to each other. In this configuration they were able to measure the gradient of the local magnetic field. I don't remember much else from the talk except that they ran their experiments around 3:00 a.m. because they had to wait for the NYC subways to stop running. The equipment was sensitive enough to pick up subway signals from several blocks away. This thread brought this all back.
 
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  • #5
kuruman said:
I never saw "Brainstorm".
I recommend it as an interesting film. It was pretty thought provoking for me many years ago:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainstorm_(1983_film)
Brainstorm is a 1983 American science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull, and staring Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood (in her final film role), Louise Fletcher, and Cliff Robertson.[1]

The only downer for me was that it was Natalie's last film. Sad, but a very nice and smart performance by her...
 
  • #6
MarkTheQuark said:
Hello everyone,

So, I was wondering, the Biot-savart show us a magnetic field created by a constant electric current. Initially I thought that an example would be biological systems with a nervous system that works on the basis of electrical discharges, but I don't think it's a valid example anymore.
Does anyone know some example of biological application of this law in magnetosthatics?
So Mark, help us out here. What aspects of magnetic fields in biology are you asking about? Are the replies so far helpful, or are you more interested in things like homing pigeons or electric eels?

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.7280697

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_eel
 

1. What is the Biot-Savart law in magnetostatics?

The Biot-Savart law in magnetostatics is a fundamental law in electromagnetism that describes the magnetic field created by a steady current. It states that the magnetic field at a point is directly proportional to the current passing through a conductor and inversely proportional to the distance from the point to the conductor.

2. What are some biological examples of the Biot-Savart law in magnetostatics?

One example is the magnetic field created by electrical currents in the nervous system. Neurons use electrical signals to communicate, and these signals create a magnetic field that can be measured using techniques such as magnetoencephalography (MEG). Another example is the magnetic field generated by the beating of the heart, which can be detected using magnetocardiography (MCG).

3. How does the Biot-Savart law apply to biomagnetism?

The Biot-Savart law is applicable to biomagnetism because it describes the relationship between electrical currents and magnetic fields. In biological systems, electrical currents are often generated by the movement of charged particles, such as ions, and these currents create magnetic fields that can be measured.

4. Can the Biot-Savart law be used to study the brain?

Yes, the Biot-Savart law is commonly used in brain imaging techniques such as MEG and MCG to study the electrical activity of the brain. These techniques rely on the fact that the electrical currents in the brain create magnetic fields, which can be measured and used to map brain activity.

5. Are there any limitations to the Biot-Savart law in biological systems?

One limitation is that the Biot-Savart law only applies to steady currents, so it cannot fully describe the magnetic fields created by rapidly changing currents in biological systems. Additionally, biological tissues can distort the magnetic fields, making it challenging to accurately measure them. Therefore, the Biot-Savart law must be used in conjunction with other techniques to fully understand the complexity of biomagnetic fields.

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