Physics 201- Introduction to Electricity & Magnetism
August 26- Welcome back!






  A 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 and potentials.
  • 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).


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Jeff Phillips
Loyola Marymount University
Fall 2002