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B Electric Fields and Forces

  1. Sep 7, 2016 #1
    Alright, I feel this may be a pretty basic question, but I have not gotten a satisfying answer yet. I'm taking Electromagnetism right now and I got to thinking: how do fields physically interact? What I mean by this is, on a subatomic level, a field can create a force on another particle or object without touching that object. How does a field actually create a force on a particle? I was imagining it worked similarly to how a gravitational field interacts with an object because it warps space around it. And a subsequent question, why do particles have a field? What I mean by that I suppose is what is generating this field in a charged particle?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2016 #2


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    This question is unphysical. Physics is about describing how nature works, not about finding an underlying "mechanism". For the purpose of classical electromagnetism, the force on a charged particle is the field multiplied by the charge.

    Classical electromagnetism works pretty well for most situations you will encounter. Once you go to the quantum level, it is no longer so meaningful to speak about classical forces.
  4. Sep 8, 2016 #3
    You COULD use quantum mechanics to describe how this works.
    However if that class involves Maxwell Equations, you should at least understand those, before we even dive in to the quantum world.

    Physics by their nature may be unintuitive and the quantum world is insanity by those standards.
    For the classical, assume the particles talk to one another through that field, fast enough that the time lag is negligible. Once you understand what Maxwell Equations say, you'll be able to have a beginning to start understanding the why.

    In physics asking the question of why is important, but understanding the "how" is how we get to the why in the first place. Physics exist to describe how things work in the world, the why will arise later.
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