Physical Principles: Electromagnetics

  • Peter R. Bergethon


If electrostatic forces define the chemical shape of our world, to a great degree it is the movement of charge that brings that world to life. The movement of charge is necessary for sensation, mental activity, muscular movement, and energy transduction by photosynthesis and metabolism, to name just several examples. When an electric field exists in either free space or a conducting medium, charges will move under the field’s influence. This movement of charge is the electric current. The flow of charge in a vacuum is familiar to most readers as the electron beam of a television or oscilloscope. Movement of charge is more familiar today in the solid state, whether in metal or polymer conductors or in semiconductors. It is probable that within this generation the cathode ray tube will be of only historical interest, having most likely been replaced by solid state display devices. Movement of charge in the solid state is generally impeded by the presence of the atomic and molecular structure that composes the material through which charge flows. We will review the physical principles of conduction through conductors and semiconductors and then delve much more deeply into the molecular particulars of conduction in substrates of biological interest in later chapters.


Magnetic Field Magnetic Force Current Flow Current Loop Physical Principle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further Reading


  1. Feynman R. R, Leighton R. B., and Sands M. (1963) The Feynman Lectures on Physics, volume 1. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, MA.Google Scholar
  2. Fishbane R M., Gasiorowicz S., and Thornton S. T. (1993) Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  3. Halliday D., Resnick R., and Walker J. (1995) Fundamentals of Physics, 5th ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Tipler R A. (1982) Physics. 2d ed. Worth Publishers, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Warren W. S. (1993) The Physical Basis of Chemistry. Academic Press Co., San Diego.Google Scholar


  1. Williams L. P. (1989) André-Marie Ampère. Sci. Am., 260 (1): 90–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Electric and Magnetic Effects in Biological Systems

  1. Hille B. (1992) Ionic Channels of Excitable Membranes, 2d ed. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA. The first several chapters are an excellent summary of the application of electrical circuit models to excitable biological membranes.Google Scholar
  2. Hsu C. Y., and Li C. W. (1994) Magnetoreception in honeybees. Science, 265: 95–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Polk C., and Postow E., eds. (1986) Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. This is a collection of articles exploring interactions of electric and magnetic vectors with elements of biological systems.Google Scholar
  4. Tenforde T. S. (1991) Biological interactions of extremely-low-frequency electric and magnetic fields. Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, 25: 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Mass Spectrometry

  1. Arnott D., Shabanowitz J., and Hunt D. F. (1993) Mass spectrometry of proteins and peptides: Sensitive and accurate mass measurement and sequence analysis. Clin. Chem., 39: 2005–2010.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Jardine I. (1990) Molecular weight analysis of proteins. Methods in Enzymology, 193: 441–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chait B. T. and Kent S. B. H. (1992) Weighing naked proteins: Practical high accuracy mass measurement of peptides and proteins. Science, 247: 1885–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hofstadler S. A., Bakhtiar R., and Smith R. D. (1996) Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry: Part I, Instrumentation and spectral interpretation. J. Chem. Ed., 73: A82 - A88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter R. Bergethon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations