I read in my Physics textbook that the notion of Electric fields are useful "when we have to deal with time dependent Electromagnetic phenomenon since no information can travel faster than light".

But this existence of speed limit was concluded by Einstein (in 1905, right ?) and the theory of fields (or field lines) was setup by Faraday (in 1890s I guess) .

So how did he actually realised the existence of such fields like what was so compelling about their inevitable existence ??

  • $\begingroup$ ... was setup by Faraday (in 1890s I guess) --- This is like saying Pluto was discovered in the 1990s or the first Sputnik was launched in the 2010s. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ See Michael Faraday. His Life and Work by Silvanus Phillips Thompson (1901). And for those who were wondering, YES, this is the same Thompson who wrote Calculus Made Easy (see here also), which is frequently cited in the mathy Stack Exchange groups. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ According to The Origins of the Field Concept in Physics, Much depends on whether a theory consistent with the notion of action at a distance ought qualify as a “field” theory. $\endgroup$
    – nwr
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_philosophy_of_field_theory $\endgroup$
    – Mauricio
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Einstein only established the speed of light as a universal limit, that particular processes propagate at finite speeds was known much earlier. Speed of light was measured back in 1676 by Rømer, speed of electricity was controversial until the 19th century, with multiple attempts to measure it, see Was it suspected that the speed of electricity was equal to the speed of light? Action at a distance was always disliked on general grounds, even for gravity, so there was motivation to introduce intermediaries, like fields in aether, to get rid of it. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 22:53


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