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Microscopic Electromagnetics

  • Kurt E. Oughstun
Chapter
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Part of the Springer Series in Optical Sciences book series (SSOS, volume 224)

Abstract

A mathematically rigorous, physically based development of the classical theory of electromagnetism is introduced here through a consideration of the microscopic Maxwell–Lorentz theory. Although the Lorentz theory of electrons is a purely classical, heuristic model that is incapable of analyzing many fundamental problems associated with the atomic constituency of matter, it is nevertheless an expedient model in providing the proper source terms for the microscopic Maxwell equations. Indeed, the classical Lorentz theory does yield many results connected with the electromagnetic properties of matter that agree in functional form with that given by quantum theory. In particular, the Lorentz theory assumes additional forces of just the right nature such that qualitatively correct expressions are obtained and, by empirical adjustment of the parameters appearing in these ad hoc force relations, quantitatively correct predictions may also be obtained. Even though quantum theory justifies the assumption of these additional forces and shows them to be of electrical origin, the Lorentz theory is incapable of arriving at this fundamental level of understanding.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt E. Oughstun
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, University of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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