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4 August 2005 What physics is encoded in Maxwell's equations?
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We reconstruct Maxwell's equations showing that a major part of the information encoded in them is taken from topological properties of spacetime, and the residual information, divorced from geometry, which represents the physical contents of electrodynamics, %these equations, translates into four assumptions:(i) locality; (ii) linearity; %of the dynamical law; (iii) identity of the charge-source and the charge-coupling; and (iv) lack of magnetic monopoles. However, a closer inspection of symmetries peculiar to electrodynamics shows that these assumptions may have much to do with geometry. Maxwell's equations tell us that we live in a three-dimensional space with trivial (Euclidean) topology; time is a one-dimensional unidirectional and noncompact continuum; and spacetime is endowed with a light cone structure readable in the conformal invariance of electrodynamics. Our geometric feelings relate to the fact that Maxwell's equations are built in our brain, hence our space and time orientation, our visualization and imagination capabilities are ensured by perpetual instinctive processes of solving Maxwell's equations. People are usually agree in their observations of angle relations, for example, a right angle is never confused with an angle slightly different from right. By contrast, we may disagree in metric issues, say, a colour-blind person finds the light wave lengths quite different from those found by a man with normal vision. This lends support to the view that conformal invariance of Maxwell's equations is responsible for producing our notion of space. Assuming that our geometric intuition is guided by our innate realization of electrodynamical laws, some abnormal mental phenomena, such as clairvoyance, may have a rational explanation.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
B. P. Kosyakov "What physics is encoded in Maxwell's equations?", Proc. SPIE 5866, The Nature of Light: What Is a Photon?, (4 August 2005);

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