Sorry, I know that’s a very broad topic but I’ll try and narrow it down.

I understand traditional electricity, I.e. electrons and their movement through conductors.

However I don’t understand magnets and how they work without any sort of contact or any particles. I also don’t understand how electricity and magnets are related to electromagnetic waves like light and x-rays.

TLDR: please explain magnets and electromagnetic waves

In: 9

So. Electricity and magnetism are kind of like two sides of the same coin. They influence each other, and all light, visible and invisible, is EM waves. Meaning waves with a measurable electric portion and magnetic portion.

Yknow how light can be described as both a particle and a wave?

Well light is essentially an electric wave and a magnetic wave flowing through an electric field and a magnetic field. Again, two halves of the same coin.

Now for how electricity and magnets tie together. Well, whenever electric current travels, I’m generated a magnet field around itself. This magnetic field isn’t crazy strong, but it is there. This is why when you wrap a coil of wire around something metal, you can create an electromagnet. Or how you’re able to make metal detectors.

Alternatively, when a magnetic field moves, it induces an electric current in metal around it. This is how generators work. You have something spinning like a turbine, then attach a magnet to that so the magnet spins too, then coil a bunch of wire around the spinning magnet, and the spinning magnet will generate an electric current in the wire.

Now for how permanent magnets work, like a bar magnet. These work under the same principle too, moving electricity generated a magnetic field.

Except instead of electricity flowing through a wire, it is the electrons of the atoms themselves.

If all the atoms are aligned in such a way that their electrons are spinning around the atoms in sync with each other, all these individual electrons and their atoms stack their effects and are able to create a strong magnet field.

their just situations that effect each other.

say for example earth shapes where water can flow, water can cut through earth(erosion) and move it settling solid after a flood or glacier.

the definition we give things is based on our perception of it. we discovered magnetism first by natural magnetic deposits, then electricity, then our modern concept of light and radio.

as such different things when we discovered them we didn’t realized they were all linked until much later.

radiation(nuclear) (ie: gamma) is also connected, the further down the physics rabbit hole the more we find is inter-connected.

imagine a spider web, u find only one strand in the dark, pull that strand and hear a leaf shake 4 feet above you, pull that one and hear twig break 6 foot to your right. then define those effects(magnetism and electricity) stumble into another thread pull it and find a blade of grass moves, define those effects(radio and light)… and on and on it goes

these interactions are not easy to discover because we can’t see them, and the human mind is built around spacial visualization. so we end up over simplifying concepts after we stumble into them so that we can study/learn about them in a way that fits in our brain.

we like to use particle concepts because it fits in our head, we use field or wave concepts because it fits in our head, but as best I can tell neither of these concepts is applicable at the deeper roots of physics.

why i find philosophically speaking the most interesting aspect is how hard we (humanity) try to make something complicated a linear concept. the pursuit of the great unification theory is not nearly as useful as applicable science and engineering, and as ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ why isn’t that the primary motivator of high science rather than trying to build theorems on concepts that don’t directly affect our reality.


>how they work without any sort of contact or any particles

A lot of times when we ask for an explanation of how something in physics works, we’re looking for some sort of analogy to something we’re familiar with, but the reality is that often there really isn’t anything we can compare it to, the best we can do is just describe what it’s doing. What is a photon if it’s neither a particle or a wave? Well we can describe it’s behavior using equations but that’s about it, it doesn’t have a real world analogy. It just does what a photon does.

In our day to day life, most things can’t effect each other unless they come in contact, but this really isn’t a rule for the universe as a whole. How do magnets work without any sort of contact or any particles? Why wouldn’t they? Most particles interact without touching and without anything connecting them together. In fact nothing really ever touches. A table only feels solid because there are molecules in the table that repel molecules in your hand. They don’t ever come in contact. Now we could talk about fields and such but that’s really just kicking the can down the road for this particular question, the real answer is just that things on a really tiny scale do not operate under the same rules as medium sized things we see every day, and why would they? It’s like asking “how do particles fly around without wings?” That’s a general rule that only applies to some objects within the atmosphere of planets, it’s not a universal constant. Why can objects affect each other without touching? Why wouldn’t they?