To read this content please select one of the options below:

The role of the potentials in electromagnetism

Percy Hammond (Southampton University, Southampton, UK)


There are two conflicting views about electromagnetic phenomena. The first is based on the action between stationary and moving particles of electric charge and the second on energy distributions in electric and magnetic fields. The difference between these approaches is seen most clearly in the roles assigned to the potentials. According to the particle view the potentials convey the force from one particle to another, whereas in the field approach the potentials are system parameters related to the field energy. The article compares the two views and concludes that the particle view faces impossible difficulties because it ascribes local significance to quantities which are unobservable and conflicts with the quantum‐mechanical understanding of charge as a statistical distribution.



Hammond, P. (1999), "The role of the potentials in electromagnetism", COMPEL - The international journal for computation and mathematics in electrical and electronic engineering, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 103-119.




Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

Related articles