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Paper: The Conflict between Realism and the Scalar Potential in Electrodynamics
Volume: 413, 2nd Crisis in Cosmology Conference, CCC-2
Page: 221
Authors: Roscoe, D. F.
Abstract: Within no inertial frame can stationary charge exist. All charge, wherever it exists, experiences perpetual interaction with charge elsewhere and so can only exist as non-trivial current. It follows that the notion of the electrostatic scalar potential is a pragmatic idealization — it is not fundamental and is useful simply because, in many practical circumstances, the time scales of interest are sufficiently small that charges can be considered stationary in appropriately chosen inertial frames. In this paper, we take the view that the subsuming of the electrostatic scalar potential within classical electrodynamics raises issues of fundamental principle and consider the question of whether it is possible to have a relativistic electrodynamics \emph{sans} the electrostatic scalar potential — that is, expressed purely in terms of some form of relativistic magnetic potential. Surprisingly, we find that such a thing can be realized in a remarkably simple way - and which is cost-free for ordinary applications of electrodynamics. But the overall formalism has fundamental ramifications for our deeper understanding of electrodynamics — for example, the canonical interpretation of the electromagnetic field itself appears to be unsustainable.
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