J. C. Maxwell’s, ‘Dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field’

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                                (81) It appears from this investigation that if we assume that the 
medium which constitutes the electromagnetic field is, when dielectric, 
capable of receiving in every part of it an electric polarization 
in which the opposite sides of every element into which we 
may conceive the medium divided are oppositely electrified 
and if we also assume that this polarization or electric displacement 
is proportional to the electromotive force which produces or 
maintains it, then we can show that electrified bodies 
in a dielectric medium will act on one another with forces 
obeying the same laws as are established by experiment. 
The energy, by the expenditure of which electrical attractions 
and repulsions are produced, we suppose to be stored up in 
the dielectric medium which surrounds the electrified bodies 
and not in those bodies themselves which, on our theory are 
merely the bounding surfaces of the air or other dielectric in 
which the true springs of action are to be sought. 
<s>The quantity E which denotes the number of electrostatic units 
of electricity which are contained in one electro<s>dynamic<\s>magnetic unit 
in Webers system of electrical measurements is a velocity 
which as determined by Weber and Kohlrausch is 
310 740 Kilometers per second 
or 195 647 miles per second. 
This quantity <s>depends<\s> determines according to our theory <s>on<\s> what we 
have called k, the electric elasticity of the medium, by the equation 
k = 4[pi]E<sup>2<sup> 

As the value of E is of great importance in electrical science 
the Committee of the British Association on Electric Standards 
are making arrangements for a new determination of it.<\s> 


                            
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Manuscript details

Author
James Clerk Maxwell
Reference
PT/72/7
Series
PT
Date
1864
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J. C. Maxwell’s, ‘Dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field’, 1864. From The Royal Society, PT/72/7

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