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Do electrons only feel the electric field?

  1. Sep 20, 2013 #1
    Do electrons only "feel" the electric field?

    Imagine that you're an electron.

    You are always at rest in your inertial frame so that you do not "feel" the [itex]\mathbf{v} \times \mathbf{B}[/itex] term of the Lorentz force.

    Thus, from your perspective, you only ever "feel" an electric field.

    Magnetic fields only affect other electrons!
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2013 #2
    Of course you feel it, v is a relative velocity between the charge and the current source producing the magnetic field.
  4. Sep 20, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    In the rest frame of the electron, the Lorentz force is only due to the electric field.
    But, the electron has a magnetic moment that is affected by the magnetic field.
  5. Sep 20, 2013 #4
    Good point!
  6. Sep 20, 2013 #5
    Electrons also have mass so they "feel" the gravitational field.
  7. Sep 21, 2013 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    This is true, but there is no reason that you need to use your inertial frame. The principle of relativity guarantees that you can use any inertial frame you choose.

    Also, a free electron in an EM field is usually accelerating and therefore does not have an inertial frame in which it is always at rest.
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