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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.


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:

electromagnetic force fieldselectromagnetostaticsFaraday’s lawLighter Sidevector fields

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