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Questions about Electrical Field and Magnetic Field

  1. Feb 28, 2008 #1
    Hi there, I'm new to this forum and currently in year 11
    Well, today I just got a worksheet in Physics lesson about nuclear radiations, stuff like alpha, beta and gamma rays... I pretty much understand most of what it was about until this "Right Hand Palm Rule" came up to me in the paper, apparently, from what I understand, it's something to do with obviously magnetic field and force etc... but, what ARE these electrical and magnetic field? How are they differ? I had researched a bit on the internet, but most of them are too difficult for me to understand. I'm always so lost in understanding a lot of theories behind physics. People say you need to be very good in mathematics to study WITH physics, I can't say I'm very good in mathematics, but I have pleasing results in that subjects, however, for physics, its a hard concept to understand. Thank you for the helps.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2008 #2


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    electric or magnetic?

    Hi shinigami66! Welcome to PF! :smile:

    Electric forces affect all charges, and pull them with the same force and in the same direction whatever their speeds are.

    But magnetic fields only affect moving charges, and they pull them perpendicular to their line of movement.

    The strength of the pull is proportional to the speed of the charge (so it's zero when the speed is zero).

    So a magnetic field makes charges move in circles or spirals.

    That's why the particle tracks you see in pictures are usually curved - they're produced by particles in a magnetic field.

    (Why does a magnet attract stationary objects with no charge? Well, it only does it for iron and a few other materials, and it has something to do with the electrons in the iron, which are charged and which are moving!)
  4. Feb 28, 2008 #3
    Hey tiny-tim,
    Thanks for the reply and I actually got some ideas in, what these two things are about. But, another thing came up to me, how come electromagnetic waves are unaffected by any of the two fields?
  5. Feb 28, 2008 #4


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    Because electromagnetic waves (like the photons which are their "dual personalities") have no charge.

    Only things with charge are affected by electric or magnetic fields. :smile:
  6. Feb 28, 2008 #5
    Another question(jeez, don't I have so much questions :S), you mentioned that the electric forces pull charges with the same force, does that mean it has a constant?
  7. Feb 29, 2008 #6


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    No, he's just saying that the electric force doesn't depend on the speeds of the charges, or their directions of motion. It depends only on the amount of charge and on the distance between them.

    (Don't your class give you something besides worksheets to study from, that is, a textbook? :smile:)
  8. Feb 29, 2008 #7
    My class does, but reading textbook sometimes confuses me :( I also don't have the idea on where to start of in studying physics, things just won't get into my mind....
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