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On What Electromagnetic Systems Can Feel

Cynthia Kolb Whitney
Year: 2006
Keywords: electromagnetic fields, Poynting vector, Lienard and Wiechert
Within the classical description of the electromagnetic fields that are created by a rapidly moving source, there exists a fascinating curiosity. The curiosity is revealed in a simple scenario in which the source traverses a sinusoid in a plane as viewed by a stationary observer. This motion is a superposition of two basic parts: a high-speed linear translation, plus a low-amplitude harmonic oscillation. The linear translation creates Coulomb-Ampere fields, and the oscillation creates radiation fields. The curiosity is that, while the Poynting vector for the radiation is always pointing from the ?causally-connected?, or ?retarded?, position of the source, the Coulomb attraction/repulsion never is. The classical description that produces this curiosity dates from the turn of the twentieth century, with the work of Lienard and Wiechert. Although their work predates Einstein?s work, it is nevertheless consistent with his light speed postulate, and so has survived along with his Special Relativity Theory (SRT) for all this time, despite any curiosities that ensue. It is my belief that appropriately revising the postulate can remove this curiosity, as well as all other curiosities attendant to SRT.