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A derivation of Maxwell’s equations using the Heaviside notation.

Hampshire, D. P. (2018) 'A derivation of Maxwell’s equations using the Heaviside notation.', Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society A : mathematical, physical and engineering sciences., 367 (2134). p. 20170447.


Maxwell's four differential equations describing electromagnetism are among the most famous equations in science. Feynman said that they provide four of the seven fundamental laws of classical physics. In this paper, we derive Maxwell's equations using a well-established approach for deriving time-dependent differential equations from static laws. The derivation uses the standard Heaviside notation. It assumes conservation of charge and that Coulomb's law of electrostatics and Ampere's law of magnetostatics are both correct as a function of time when they are limited to describing a local system. It is analogous to deriving the differential equation of motion for sound, assuming conservation of mass, Newton's second law of motion and that Hooke's static law of elasticity holds for a system in local equilibrium. This work demonstrates that it is the conservation of charge that couples time-varying E-fields and B-fields and that Faraday's Law can be derived without any relativistic assumptions about Lorentz invariance. It also widens the choice of axioms, or starting points, for understanding electromagnetism.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2018 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:04 June 2018
Date deposited:17 September 2018
Date of first online publication:29 October 2018
Date first made open access:No date available

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