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Name: Mitchell
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Question:
In physics the photon is the gauge boson for electromagnetism. Photons are also carriers of electromagnetic radiation. What I do not understand is how electromagnetic radiation and electromagnetism are linked. If photons are what elementary particles use to exert forces on each other, does this mean that light is the electromagnetic interaction between electrically charged particles?



Replies:
Mitchell,

You are correct. Light is a combination of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. These fields are emitted by electric charges. These electric and magnetic fields then affect the motion of other charges. At the level of individual particles, the fields are always oscillating. At the level of charged balls or current flowing through an antenna, the oscillations are too small and too fast to detect unless the oscillations of the charges themselves can be detected.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College



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