All Things Electric and Magnetic

Introduction

    This educational web-course is a first introduction, for students and interested web users, to the development and history of "classical" electricity and magnetism, using a minimum of math but covering key concepts and applications.

    Actually. the name "All things Electric and Magnetic" promises more than can be delivered at this level: what you get is mostly an introduction to E&M as it stood early in the 20th century-- as if electricity were a continuous fluid and electromagnetic waves a continuous disturbance.

    All this changed in the decade following 1895--J.J. Thomson discovered electrons, Planck discovered the quantization of heat and Einstein postulated photons of light. Soon, the electronic charge was measured, quantum mechanics was formulated, atomic nuclei were explored, the role of electrons in the chemical bond and the solid state was clarified... Then vacuum tubes led to radio, TV, radar, microwave cooking, lasers and MRI scans, while solid state electronics led to computers, rockets allowed a better view of the universe outside the atmosphere, and so forth.

    "All Things" usually stops short of all these (just a few times it goes on a bit). So do most of our public school physics courses--reaching roughly the level of "A First Course of Physics" by Robert Millikan and Henry Gale, from 1906 or so. After that time physics simply became too big to cover--and much of it required calculus. The public may be aware of newer subjects--nuclear energy, global warming, black holes, solar cells, metal detectors--and some sort of understanding may or may not trickle down to it. Here you just get a foundation course, and parts can be included as early as the 8th grade.

Other educational web courses may go further, and parts are linked from these files:
       From Stargazers to Starships
       Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere
       The Great Magnet, the Earth
All collections can be downloaded as zip-archives--this one from
http://www.phy6.org/Electric.zip , for others see here

Please note, this is a draft version. Comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome and will get serious attention.

 


Next Stop: E1.   The Electric Fluid
Home Page "All Things Electric and Magnetic"
"From Stargazers to Starships"
Timeline of "All Things Electric and Magnetic"
Timeline (from "Stargazers")
Master index file

Author and Curator:   Dr. David P. Stern
     Mail to Dr.Stern:   stargaze("at" symbol)phy6.org .

Last updated: 25 August 2010