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Branch of physics that deals with the relationship between electricity and magnetism. Their merger into one concept is tied to three historical events. Hans C. Orsted's accidental discovery in 1820 that magnetic fields are produced by electric currents spurred efforts to prove that magnetic fields can induce currents. Michael Faraday showed in 1831 that a changing magnetic field can induce a current in a circuit, and James Clerk Maxwell predicted that a changing electric field has an associated magnetic field. The technological revolution attributed to the development of electric power and modern communications can be traced to these three landmarks.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on electromagnetism, visit Britannica.com.