road map of what we'll discuss this semester:
We'll start by looking at what causes electrical phenomena.
(Unlike the early scientists studying electricity, we have the advantage
of knowing mroe about microscopic particles, but like them we'll first
start with a qualitative treatment.)
We'll then quantify the forces that act on charges.
At the same time we'll introduce the notion of a field (which is the thing
that causes the forces).
At this point things get a bit more abstract as we connect
the idea of a field to potential. (BTW: Potentials and potential
energies are not the same thing, but they are related.)
We'll spend some time practicing how we calculate fields
Now we begin to let charges move within wires.
This brings together the previous units and adds in currents.
We'll look at simple DC circuits, where we'll meet resistors
and Ohm's Law.
Now we switch topics, leaving electricity for a while
to look at magnetic forces. There will be many similarities to electrical
forces and fields, but as you might expect they are not identical.
We'll see how currents produce magnetic fields as well
as how magnetic field can exert forces on currents.
At the end of the coruse, we'll bring everything together
to produce one coherent picture.
Historically, electrical and magnetic forces were thought
to be separate, but through some clever experiments and extremely insightful
theories we now know that the two forces (and fields) are really just two
parts of the electromagnetic force (field).