Maxwell’s Equations


Maxwell developed and derived four equations, his contribution to classical electromagnetism was showing the interrelatedness of phenomena which were thought to be separate. For HSC level, we recommend knowing each of the four laws qualitivly.

Maxwell’s 4 laws to develop a unified theory of classical electromagnetism are:

  • Gauss’s Law of Electrical Flux – Electrical fields radiate our from a point charge – leaving it. A gaussian surface is smooth and encloses a charge
  • Gauss’s Law of Magnetic Flux – Since all magnetic field lines are looped so they enter and re-enter an object, there are no magnetic monopoles
  • Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction – Changing magnetic fields generate changing electric field
  • Ampere’s Circuital Law – changing electric field generates a changing magnetic field perpendicular to the plane (vice versa of Faraday’s law) of the electric field (using the displacement current). The constants μ0 and ε0 can be measured in laboratory and are related to this.


Question 1. [5 marks]

Evaluate the significance of Maxwell’s equations to the field of classical electromagnetism.

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