Speed of light question

47
0
this isn't actually homework but i fear it is too simple to put in any of the other forums :redface:
why is it that you can calculate the speed of light by (permettivity*permeability of free space)^-0.5
i can't seem to find it in any of my textbooks, but my physics teacher told me it was a standard proof thing...
 
you can derive it using maxwell's equations
 

jtbell

Mentor
15,193
2,787
More specifically, if you use Maxwell's equations to derive the wave equation for E or B, you get something that looks just like the standard differential wave equation, with [itex]1/\sqrt{\epsilon_0 \mu_0}[/itex] where the wave speed should be.
 
47
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is it something doable by an A level student? cos i've heard about maxwell's equations but it's not on the syllabus...
also, what are E and B?
 
E = electric field
B = magnetic field

how much calculus have you done??
 
47
0
int. by parts, substitution, integrating trig, first order differential equations
 

berkeman

Mentor
54,306
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int. by parts, substitution, integrating trig, first order differential equations
Sounds like you have a lot of the background, as long as you've had some vectors mixed in with the calculus. I googled something like maxwell equations derivation wave equation, and got lots of good hits. Here's one of the first hits on the list:

http://www.mathphysics.com/pde/Maxwell.html


EDIT -- Also, if you have access to a technical library, just check out some of the books on Electromagnetics. Most will have the derivation.
 

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