The problem I have been working with recently has been deriving the speed of light using maxwells equations, however in order to do this I must make two assumptions; there is no net charge or displacement currents in the space in which I am attemptin to derive the speed of light. If I make these assumptions I am able to find that the speed of light is equal to 1/√(εμ) or ≅ 3E8 meters per second. I do not understand why I must make these assumptions.
Hi, I was not bad at Physics being a student, I can try to help you. It is reasonable to say that there is no net charge or displacement currents in the space, since space is considered empty (in an idealized sense) and without any charge present there can be no displacement currents. However, in Maxwell's time, these assumptions were much harder to accept since there was an understanding that waves traveled through a medium and that the medium being physical might have these properties of charge and displacement current. Now of course we know that space is empty. In making these assumptions (a special case to test), we discover waves whose speed matches that of light and then make the jump to light being an electromagnetic phenomena.
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