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ERIC Number: EJ831230
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
On the Galilean Non-Invariance of Classical Electromagnetism
Preti, Giovanni; de Felice, Fernando; Masiero, Luca
European Journal of Physics, v30 n2 p381-391 Mar 2009
When asked to explain the Galilean non-invariance of classical electromagnetism on the basis of pre-relativistic considerations alone, students--and sometimes their teachers too--may face an impasse. Indeed, they often argue that a pre-relativistic physicist could most obviously have provided the explanation "at a glance", on the basis of the presence of a parameter "c" with the dimensions of a velocity in Maxwell's equations, being well aware of the fact that "any" velocity is non-invariant in Galilean relativity. This "obvious" answer, however popular, is not correct due to the actual observer-invariance of the Maxwell parameter "c" in pre-relativistic physics too. A pre-relativistic physicist would therefore have needed a different explanation. Playing the role of this physicist, we pedagogically show how a proof of the Galilean non-invariance of classical electromagnetism can be obtained, resting on simple pre-relativistic considerations alone. (Contains 8 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Students; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A