UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Hi! I was wondering, what is an electromagnetic field (or magnetic field) actually made of? (What is the field itself "made" of... if anything?) Thank you so much for your time and help!
Question Date: 2010-07-22
Answer 1:

I'm not sure how to answer that - there is a sense in which fields simply "are". Fields are the vector quantities representing gradients in energy levels associated with a particular force, in this case the electromagnetic force. Light, of course, consists of propagating waves of electromagnetic fields (which, like everything else, have a duality with particles), but it wouldn't really be correct to say that fields are made out of light; really, it's the other way around. You can release energy by nullifying the gradient (e.g. uniting opposite charged particles), so in that sense fields could be described as energy, but they also are other things, such as force, and entropy, or more accurately the absence of entropy.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use