How did I get inspired to learn electricity and magnetism?

Last winter, just as I was getting into the wonderful world of electricity & magnetism, I witnessed this fantastic debate between Walter Lewin (An awesome former professor at MIT) and YouTube electrical engineer Mehdi Sadaghdar (Electroboom). Lewin, in his lectures, had shown an incredibly counterintuitive demonstration about two points having different voltages when measured from different sides under a changing magnetic flux. However, Mehdi believed that Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law (which refutes this observation) could not be violated under any conditions. The ensuing debate was like a scientific boxing match, but instead of punches, the two threw mathematical derivations and proofs that I didn’t initially understand.

However, I couldn’t bear to see this fantastic scientific duel as a bystander much longer. So, I pored over college physics textbooks and made my own experimental setups until their language started to make sense. Inspired by this conflict, I ended up learning far above and beyond my original intent of self-studying for AP Physics E&M.

In the end, it was more-or-less concluded that their disagreement came from differing definitions, according to an incisive publication by another professor (John Belcher, also from MIT). From what I understand, an “engineer” definition of KVL uses a “lumped element” approximation, which is not valid in Lewin’s demonstration. But you know what? Unlike a boxing match, I wasn’t rooting for anyone. In science, you’re not fighting to see who is right, but WHAT is right. That’s magical.  

Thanks for reading!

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