Electricity and Magnetism

Discover what powers the devices you use, from your toaster to your cell phone.

Unlocking Electricity

The Sand Grain Analogy

A Sticky Situation

Net Charge

Coulomb's Law

What are Fields?

Charges on a String

Ions in Solution

Parallel Charged Plates

Course description

Each day, you interact with tens, if not hundreds, of electrical devices, from the light in your kitchen to the computer, tablet or phone you are using right now. In this course, you will discover the physical laws of electricity and magnetism that let these devices perform their designed functions. Throughout this course, you will have opportunities to observe the principles of electricity and magnetism in action via demos that we handpicked and filmed. The focus, here, is on the physical observations that inspired Maxwell's famous field equations, which tell us how electric and magnetic fields operate across the universe.

Topics covered

  • Charge
  • Coulomb’s Law
  • Electric Fields
  • Conductors
  • Capacitance
  • Current
  • Hands-on Experiments
  • Kirchoff’s Circuit Rules
  • Ampere’s Law
  • Faraday’s Law
  • Lorentz Force Law
  • Magnetic Fields
  • Gauss’ Law
  • Maxwell’s Equations

Prerequisites and next steps

This course assumes that you're familiar with forces and energy from Newtonian mechanics. While vectors and their geometric interpretation will be used, they will be developed in context. The course will not require you to evaluate any integrals, though familiarity with integral calculus concepts is helpful.


  • Classical Mechanics
  • Scientific Thinking