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Electrodynamics vs. Electromagnetism: On the use of either term

  1. Sep 5, 2008 #1
    I am curious to hear people's opinions and to run a poll on the use of the term electrodynamics vs. the term electromagnetism. Which do you prefer; why? Are there instances where you would use one over the other? Etc?

    To start off:
    Some like the use of electromagnetism when speaking of the field only. When we speak of the effect of the field on charges, then these people enjoy the use of electrodynamics since now we are considering the mechanics of the charges. However, in elementary analysis, we often speak of electrostatics and (quasi-) magnetostatics. Does it then not make sense to speak of electrodynamics if we wish to consider the electromagnetic wave regardless of the effect on charges?

    Something else I tend to notice; physicists tend to employ electrodynamics while the engineers tend to employ electromagnetism. Perhaps this can relate to the above since the engineers that most care about the fundamental theory tend to work in some area of wave propagation, while the physicists tends to keep their eye on the larger picture?

    I have many more thoughts on this subject, but I am curious to hear what others have to say.
  2. jcsd
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