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Relativity in Modern Physics$
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Nathalie Deruelle and Jean-Philippe Uzan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786399.001.0001

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Constant fields

Constant fields

(p.298) 13 Constant fields
Relativity in Modern Physics

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the basic ideas of electrostatics (Coulomb’s law) and magnetostatics (the Biot–Savart law). It studies the motion of a charge in a Coulomb field in detail. The chapter shows how the motion of a charge q in the Coulomb field of a charge Q held fixed at the origin of an inertial frame is governed by the Lorentz equation. Moreover, it can be solved like the Kepler problem discussed in the previous Book. Next, the chapter discusses the Rutherford scattering formula which established the ‘planetary’ model of the atom, the Bohr–Sommerfeld quantization which displayed the limits of the theory, and finally the spin coupling explaining the atomic fine structure.

Keywords:   constant fields, Coulomb’s law, magnetostatics, Biot–Savart law, Bohr–Sommerfeld quantization, Rutherford scattering formula, planetary model of the atom, spin coupling

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