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ERIC Number: EJ901523
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0143-0807
Physical Interpretation of the Schott Energy of An Accelerating Point Charge and the Question of Whether a Uniformly Accelerating Charge Radiates
Rowland, David R.
European Journal of Physics, v31 n5 p1037-1051 Sep 2010
A core topic in graduate courses in electrodynamics is the description of radiation from an accelerated charge and the associated radiation reaction. However, contemporary papers still express a diversity of views on the question of whether or not a uniformly accelerating charge radiates suggesting that a complete "physical" understanding of the energy content of the fields surrounding an accelerating charge is still missing. It is argued in this paper that the missing insight is the precise physical meaning of the somewhat mysterious "Schott energy" which is shown to be simply the difference between the energy in the bound electromagnetic fields of the accelerating charge and the amount of energy in the bound fields of a uniformly moving charge which has the same instantaneous velocity. This difference arises because the bound fields of a charge cannot respond "rigidly" when the state of motion of a charge is changed by an external force. During uniform acceleration, the rate of change of this difference is just the negative of the rate at which radiation energy is created, and hence the power needed to accelerate a charged particle uniformly is just that which is required to accelerate a neutral particle with the same rest mass even though the charge is radiating. The errors in other analyses are also identified. (Contains 5 footnotes, 1 table, and 6 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A