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"Work done by the electric field"

  1. Sep 10, 2014 #1
    Why is ∫F.dL called the work done by the electric field? This makes absolutely no sense in my opinion, and I think it should be called the work done by the electric force.

    ∫E.dL should be called the work done by the electric field. Even if that's not rigorously "work".

    Can anyone prove me wrong so that I stop feeling pissed off when I do problems?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2014 #2
    Its english. English, like all natural language, arises organically and is not subject to strict rules of delineation and logic. That is one reason math was invented in the first place.

    Might as well get all pissed that you drive on the parkway and park on the driveway.
     
  4. Sep 10, 2014 #3

    Nugatory

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    Staff: Mentor

    No.

    But much of natural language is <understatement>less than completely precise</understatement> and the terminology has evolved over time and is driven by tradition as much as logic... So it is the way it is. The only person who gains when you get pissed off is your cardiologist.
     
  5. Sep 10, 2014 #4
    Lol. I laughed at that cardiologist thing. So just to be sure, whenever they say work done by the electric field they really just mean the work done by the electric force right? Like, it will depend on the sign the test charge has right?
     
  6. Sep 10, 2014 #5

    Nugatory

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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. The sign of the test charge and the direction of the field determine the direction of the force, so if you change one but not the other you change the direction of the force.
     
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