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Matter and Magneto-Electric Action1

Nature volume 25, pages 539543 | Download Citation



THE late Prof. Clerk Maxwell, in his work on “Electricity and Magnetism” (vol. ii. p. 146), lays down as a principle that “the mechanical force which urges a conductor carrying a current across the lines of magnetic force, acts, not on the electric current, but on the conductor which carries it. If the conductor be a rotating disk or a fluid it will move in obedience to this force, and this motion may or may not be accompanied with a change of position of the electric current which it carries. But if the current itself be free to choose any path through a fixed solid conductor or a network of wires, then, when a constant magnetic force is made to act on the system, the path of the current through the conductors is not permanently altered, but after certain transient phenomena, called induction currents, have subsided, the distribution of the current will be found to be the same as if no magnetic force were in action. The only force which acts on electric currents is electromotive force, which must be distinguished from the mechanical force which is the subject of this chapter.”

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