One of these three challenges Einstein addresses is the relationship between Maxwell's electromagnetic equations and the mechanical worldview. Scientists in Einstein's day searched for a unifying theory that would explain both electromagnetism and mechanics. Einstein was attracted to this problem because he was troubled by an electromagnetic principle that did not make sense according to the mechanical world view: Faraday's 1831 magnet-coil experiment. In this experiment, a magnet is moved near an electric circuit, and then the circuit is moved near the magnet. According to Faraday, an electric current should be formed whenever there is relative movement, regardless of whether the magnet or the circuit is moving. However, according to Maxwell's equations, an electric current is only induced when the circuit is at rest and the magnet moving. This asymmetrical explanation disturbed Einstein, who was
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2011 for the course BIO 1320 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.