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Comparison of electromagnetic and gravitational radiation: What we can learn about each from the other

Price, Richard H. and Belcher, John W. and Nichols, David A. (2013) Comparison of electromagnetic and gravitational radiation: What we can learn about each from the other. American Journal of Physics, 81 (8). pp. 575-584. ISSN 0002-9505. doi:10.1119/1.4807853.

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We compare the nature of electromagnetic fields and gravitational fields in linearized general relativity. We carry out this comparison both mathematically and visually. In particular, the “lines of force” visualizations of electromagnetism are contrasted with the recently introduced tendex/vortex eigenline technique for visualizing gravitational fields. Specific solutions, visualizations, and comparisons are given for an oscillating point quadrupole source. Among the similarities illustrated are the quasistatic nature of the near fields, the transverse 1/r nature of the far fields, and the interesting intermediate field structures connecting these two limiting forms. Among the differences illustrated are the meaning of field line motion and of the flow of energy.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:© 2013 American Association of Physics Teachers. Received 18 December 2012; accepted 13 May 2013. For discussions of tendex/vortex lines, the authors thank the groups at Caltech and Cornell, in particular, Kip Thorne, Mark Scheel, Rob Owen, Jeff Kaplan, Fan Zhang, and Aaron Zimmerman.
Subject Keywords:electromagnetic fields, electromagnetism, general relativity, gravitation, physics education, teaching
Issue or Number:8
Classification Code:PACS: 04.30.-w; 41.20.Jb
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130826-130414353
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40928
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Aug 2013 18:34
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:24

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