Featured module: Electrodynamics and Relativity

Electrodynamics describes the classical theory of electric and magnetic fields and how they interact with electric charges. It is one of the four fundamental interactions of Nature.

Electrodynamics unifies the understanding of countless phenomena (including electrostatics, magnetism, induction and electromagnetic waves) within the framework of Einstein's theory of Special Relativity, which is why these two topics are taught together in this module. Electromagnetic interactions are responsible for binding atoms together, they govern chemical processes, and they explain why different materials have different conducting properties. Electromagnetism is also central to electronics, optic fibres and broadband communications.

Mathematically, electrodynamics is governed by four coupled partial differential equations, called Maxwell’s equations. In this module you will learn to solve Maxwell’s equations, using tools learnt throughout the degree (including vector calculus, ordinary and partial differential equations, differentiation and integration). The module will not only give you insight into the beauty of Maxwell's equations and their fundamental relevance in theoretical physics, but will also equip you with job skills transferable to technological applications.

The videos show an example of 3 charged particles moving in static electric and magnetic fields. The equations of motion can be solved analytically. In practical applications, understanding particle dynamics in such fields is the basis of mass spectrometry, which is used to identity chemical elements present in small quantities.

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