maxwell equations

Boundary conditions on electric and magnetic fields.

Electromagnetic theory, Lecture — II. 

Boundary conditions on Electric and magnetic fields in Maxwell’s equations

Topics covered

A. Summary of Maxwell’s equations — in free space and in material media

B. Integral forms of Maxwell’s equations — by application of vector calculus

C. Derivation of boundary conditions — on electric and magnetic fields

In the last lecture we formulated the Maxwell’s equations, for free space as well as any material medium in their differential form.

Remember that we say free space to mean that the sources of charge densities and sources of current densities that experience our field vectors, viz. $latex vec{E}$ and $latex vec{B}$ — which are produced by other source densities of charges and currents, are non-existent.

That is there is no hindrance or onlookers our $latex vec{E}$ and $latex vec{B}$ fields meet on their way when they go on a sojourn, in that space. I also hear they call it by the name vacuum. As far as I know I testify, there is no difference between vacuum and free space.

Vacuum simply means for our purpose and many others, there is no glimpse of matter in the space of consideration. It is therefore the simplest of situation to harp on, before we can target our intelligence for achieving more complicated scenario, and yes there certainly are such situations and they take most of our coveted attention in asking us to solve them. 

And sooner than later we would be on our toes trying to grasp the burden the more complicated situations would unleash our way. For the time being we focus on free space which means the sources are zero.

Again by sources we mean, not the sources that produce our vector field $latex vec{E}$ and $latex vec{B}$ but the ones that interact with them, in the path of our fields. 

Maxwell’s equations

Electromagnetic theory, Lecture — I.

Maxwell’s equations

This lecture, the web version of the first lecture given in the electromagnetic theory paper of the physics honors degree class, was delivered on 21st December 2017. All electromagnetic theory lectures of this series, will be found here. 

Also read part-2 of the linked lecture. That describes the subject matter of this lecture, in a good deal of depth.

Topics covered

A. Maxwell’s equations — basic form

B. Displacement current — Correction to Ampere’s law

C. Maxwell’s equations — in material media

Maxwell’s equations

Maxwell’s equations the basic forms

The Maxwell’s equations without the corrections to the Ampere’s law can be written as the following;

Electrostatics is when the electric charge and electric current densities, that produce these field, known therefore also, as the sources of the field, do not explicitly depend on time, that is, are constants. These sources or distributions depict the behavior of the field, and their independence from time means the fields do not vary in time, but vary only under spatial transformation.

Note that we are not talking about sources in the Maxwell’s equations above, but the ones that actually produce the E and B fields of the equations. The sources present in the equations above would alter these static fields though.

Accordingly the Maxwell equations would change their behavior in dynamic — i.e. time varying conditions, than they exhibit in the static conditions.

Equation (ii) has no names, but sometimes given a name, Gauss law — of magneto-statics.

Equation (iii) is known as Faraday’s law — of electromagnetic induction.

Equation (iv) is known as Ampere’s law.

Inconsistency in Maxwell’s equation
The Maxwell’s equations in this form are not the most general form of the eponymous set of equations. Also they are fraught with some degree of inconsistency.

Lets gaze deeper.

Introduction to special theory of relativity.

Special Theory of Relativity:
Galilean Transformations,. Newtonian Relativity.

This was a lecture delivered to physics-elective class of a 3 year non-physics degree students on 10th April 2017. This is also a good exposition to honors students and anyone at an introductory level of the special theory of relativity, with requisite mathematical background. 

Let us consider an inertial frame of reference S. The space and time coordinates of any event occurring in frame S are given by x, y, z, t.

Now let us consider another frame of reference S’ which is inertial but moves wrt frame S at speed v, along +x direction.

The coordinates of the same event in the S’ frame are given as: x’, y’, z’, t’. The relationship among the coordinates of any event in two different frames of reference both of which are inertial frames, is known as Galilean Coordinate Transformation or Galilean Transformation.

If we assume that time passes by at the same rate in both S and S’ frames, the resulting laws satisfy Newtonian Relativity. We say time is an absolute quantity in an infinitude of equivalent inertial frames of references as the rate of time change is independent of the particular inertial frame of reference we have chosen. Consequently: t = t’.

The above equation is known as velocity addition rule in Newtonian Relativity. This is valid only for classical mechanics in the sense of speed of objects and speed of frame of reference, which are quite insignificant with respect to the speed-of-light value.

Velocity addition is nothing but a relation of velocities of objects in different frames among each other. So its exactly what we call “relative velocities” in elementary mechanics. Relative velocity, velocity addition and velocity transformation are the exact same thing. Read more about these here and here. The second link also expounds on what happens when speeds approach that of light.

Wrong question in GATE 2018 physics?

I think the above question asked in GATE 2018 (physics) is wrong.

Any vector has two components. The component perpendicular to the parity axis has even parity and the parallel component to the axis has odd parity.

The opposite is true for axial vectors.

E, A vectors.
B, L axial vectors.

The correct answer per gate exam body is E, A. Why not B and L? It’s an arbitrary situation and perpendicular components of these fields will have odd parity.

Electromagnetic Nature of Light — A brief history of light.

Let us begin this lecture which has roughly two parts;

1. the history of light and its understanding through the centuries


2. the electromagnetic nature of light

A brief history of light

Various optical devices and optical phenomena have been known since close to 4000 years. The optical devices of ancient time includes mirrors, burning glasses, lenses and other magnifying devices.

Accordingly various properties and laws of light were understood and developed since these times. E.g.

a. light was understood to propagate rectilinearly and 

b. light was understood to reflect and refract.