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Magnetism is a strange phenomenon#

Magnetism occurs due to a magnetic field, generated by electric currents or magnetic dipoles, exerting forces on particles within the field. Despite its apparent familiarity, magnetism remains one of the less understood phenomena in physics.


This document presents an exploration into the essence of magnetism, a force that, despite its ubiquity and fundamental nature, harbours mysteries at its core. It discusses the classical and quantum perspectives on magnetism, examines the theoretical frameworks that attempt to describe it, and contemplates ongoing research that seeks to uncover its deeper truths.

This is the standard view of Magnetism#

Magnetism is a key component of the electromagnetic field theory, illustrating the intricate dance between electric charges and currents. This section delves into key concepts and historical developments that have shaped our understanding of magnetism.

Electromagnetism: The Unified Force#

  • James Clerk Maxwell's Equations unified electricity and magnetism, revealing the dual nature of electromagnetic fields.
  • The Lorentz Force Law articulates the interaction of charged particles with electromagnetic fields, highlighting the foundational role of magnetism in influencing particle dynamics.

Nature of Magnetic Fields#

  • Magnetic Field Lines represent the invisible forces exerted by magnets, illustrating the continuum of magnetic influence without beginning or end.
  • Magnetic Dipoles emerge from the atomic motion of electric charges, providing a microcosmic view of magnetism's origins.

Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Beyond#

  • Quantum Electrodynamics extends electromagnetism to the quantum realm, explaining light-matter interactions through the exchange of virtual particles.
  • Electroweak Theory unifies electromagnetic and weak forces, hinting at the interconnectedness of nature's forces under high-energy conditions.

Practical Applications and Ongoing Research#

The principles of magnetism find application across various domains, from electrical generation and digital storage to advanced research in spintronics and quantum computing, demonstrating magnetism's pivotal role in modern technology and ongoing scientific inquiry.

But what if our models are wrong?#

This section raises critical questions about the completeness of our current models, suggesting that our understanding of forces like magnetism and gravity may be fundamentally incomplete, and highlights the search for a deeper, unified theory of the universe.

Magnetism and Gravity: Questions and Paradigms#

The discussion contrasts magnetism's quantum description with gravity's geometric portrayal in general relativity, underscoring the challenges in reconciling these forces at a quantum level and the pursuit of theories like string theory and loop quantum gravity that aim to bridge this divide.

The Search for Deeper Understanding#

  • String Theory and Quantum Gravity represent ambitious attempts to unify the fundamental forces, suggesting a universe composed of vibrating strings or quantized spacetime loops.
  • Experimental Advances challenge existing theories, driving physics towards potentially groundbreaking discoveries that could redefine our understanding of magnetism, gravity, and the fabric of reality.


The journey through the landscape of magnetism reveals a world where much is known, yet much remains a mystery. From Maxwell's equations to the frontiers of quantum gravity, our quest to understand magnetism reflects the broader human endeavour to decipher the universe's secrets. As we push the boundaries of knowledge, we remain humbled by the complexities of nature, inspired to continue our exploration of the unseen forces that shape our world.