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SHOW OF FORCE

Photonics Spectra
May 2005
Students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge use computer-generated visualizations to comprehend electromagnetic force fields. They feed equations for concepts associated with vector fields, electromagnetostatics, Faraday’s law and light into a computer applet, which translates them into striking visual simulations of the underlying principles.

Peregrinations_zaidan.jpg

To spark student experimentation, physics professor John Belcher initiated an annual “Weird Fields” contest as part of the institute’s Technology-Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) project. This year’s first-place award went to a striking dis-play of swirls and spirals created by freshman George S. Zaidan. (May the force be with him!)

Links to his equation, other winning images, a tour of the TEAL project and the computer program used in the contest are available via the institute’s news office Web site: web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2005/weird.html.

electromagnetic force fieldselectromagnetostaticsFaraday’s lawLighter Sidevector fields

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