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Symmetry and Electrostatics

  1. Apr 21, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Past exam question:
    Briefly explain the roles of symmetry, uniqueness and superposition in solving electrostatics problems.


    2. Relevant equations
    N/A


    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know the definition of these words and could cobble together an answer from that - but is there anything particular that they might have been looking for?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2009 #2

    Hootenanny

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    Re: Electrostatics

    Often the best way of answering such questions is to ask "what would happen if the principle of X didn't hold? How would I go about solving a problem?".

    This should help you explain the roles of the principles involved.
     
  4. Apr 21, 2009 #3
    Re: Electrostatics

    Edit: Found it! Thanks.
     
  5. Apr 21, 2009 #4

    Hootenanny

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    Re: Electrostatics

    Okay, say that you have found a solution for a particular electrostatics problem using a particular method. This solution will give you the value of the electric field at any point in space.

    No suppose you use a different method and obtain a different solution. This solution also gives the value of the electric field at any point in space. However, since this solution is different to the first, it may also give you different values for the electric field.

    How can this be?
     
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