Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Field Properties
Name: N/A
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

What are the diff3rences between an electric field and a magnetic field?

An electric field exerts a force on stationary electric charges, while a magnetic field exerts no force on non-moving charges. A magnetic field does exert a force on magnetic objects (such as a dipole magnet). One of the interesting things about electric and magnetic fields, however, is that when you are moving they can change from one form to the other. That is, a moving charge creates magnetic fields, even though a stationary charge creates only electric fields. This is why the two are tied together in the theory of electromagnetism.

Arthur Smith

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory