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Geometry and E&M

  1. Jan 13, 2005 #1
    Does anyone know of references to attempts at explaining electricity and magnetism via a geometrical technique similar to how general relativity explains gravity?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2005 #2


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    Moving this to Special & General Relativity; where it will likely get more attention.
  4. Jan 20, 2005 #3


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    I'm not sure about a good reference, but just look for info on the Kaluza-Klein theory, which was thought up shortly after Einstein published the theory of general relativity and which has since been incorporated into string theory.
  5. Jan 20, 2005 #4
    Einstein was under the impression that GR no more uses geometry to describe gravity than EM uses geometry for EM.

  6. Jan 21, 2005 #5
    Check out Pais' biography of Einstein "Subtle is the Lord". I also noticed, but can't put my hands on a good review article posted at arXiv.

    I don't remember if Pais confirms this, but when Einstein first saw Weyl's unified theory (see Weyl's "Space Time Matter"), he was quite puzzled by it as he thought the problem had been solved with Einstein Maxwell theory (see Einstein's 1916 paper in "Principle of Relativity"). In Einstein-Maxwell theory you insert a stress-energy tensor for the currents and a Maxwell stress-energy tensor for the electromagnetic field and solve Einstein and Maxwell equations simultaneously for the metric and the electromagnetic field. From the letters between Hilbert And Einstein that Pais quotes, it is clear that they thought they would be able to describe the hydrogen atom with this theory. Possibly that failure or the notion that electromagnetism should have grander origins then drove the later quest for a "geometrization" of the electromagnetic field with an asymmetric metric.
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