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Electromagnetic force

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This article is about the qualitative role of the electromagnetic force in physics. For the formula governing the
electromagnetic force, see Lorentz force law. For other aspects of electromagnetism, see Electromagnetism.
In physics, the electromagnetic force is the force that the electromagnetic field exerts on electrically charged
particles. It is the electromagnetic force that holds electrons and protons together in atoms, and which hold atoms
together to make molecules. The electromagnetic force operates via the exchange of messenger particles called
photons and virtual photons. The exchange of messenger particles between bodies acts to create the perceptual force
whereby instead of just pushing or pulling particles apart, the exchange changes the character of the particles that
swap them.


1 History

2 Overview

3 See also

4 External links

[edit] History
Originally, electricity and magnetism were thought of as two separate forces. This view changed, however, with the
publication of James Clerk Maxwell's 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism in which the interactions of
positive and negative charges were shown to be regulated by one force. There are four main effects resulting from
these interactions, which have been clearly demonstrated by experiment:

Electric charges attract or repel one another with a force inversely proportional to the square of the distance
between them: unlike charges attract, like ones repel.


Magnetic poles (or states of polarization at individual points) attract or repel one another in a similar way
and always come in pairs: every north pole is yoked to a south pole.


An electric current in a wire creates a circular magnetic field around the wire, its direction depending on
that of the current.


A current is induced in a loop of wire when it is moved towards or away from a magnetic field, or a magnet
is moved towards or away from it, the direction of current depending on that of the movement.

[edit] Overview

The electromagnetic force is one of the four fundamental forces. The other fundamental forces are: the strong
nuclear force (which holds quarks together, along with its residual strong force effect that holds atomic nuclei
together, to form the nucleus), the weak nuclear force (which causes certain forms of radioactive decay), and the
gravitational force. All other forces are ultimately derived from these fundamental forces.
The electromagnetic force is the one responsible for practically all the phenomena one encounters in daily life, with
the exception of gravity. Roughly speaking, all the forces involved in interactions between atoms can be traced to
the electromagnetic force acting on the electrically charged protons and electrons inside the atoms. This includes the
forces we experience in "pushing" or "pulling" ordinary material objects, which come from the intermolecular forces
between the individual molecules in our bodies and those in the objects. It also includes all forms of chemical
phenomena, which arise from interactions between electron orbitals.
[edit] See also

Quantum electrodynamics

[edit] External links

Electromagnetic Force - from Eric Weisstein's World of Physics

Ties That Bind Atoms Weaker Than Thought -

Physics 221B notes quantization

Physics 221B notes interaction

Quarked Electromagnetic force - A good introduction for kids

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