## Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Faraday was delighted, and a little alarmed, with Maxwell's approach to his ideas and the way in which it gave his theory the same status as action at a distance theories: [1] 'I was at first almost frightened when I saw such mathematical force made to bear upon the subject and then wondered to see that the subject stood it so well.' He returned to this theme later in 1857 when he asked Maxwell why mathematical conclusions may 'not be expressed in common language as full, clearly, and definitely as in mathematical formulae...translating them out of their hieroglyphics, that we might also work upon them by experiment'.
-- Frank A.J.L. James Michael Faraday: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press (2010)
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[1] Newton's law of gravitation is an example of a force at a distance:
Every point mass attracts every single other point mass by a force pointing along the line intersecting both points. The force is proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
Expressed mathematically:
F = G m1m2 /r2