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Maxwell's Definition of Electric Polarization as Displacement

By Arthur Yaghjian
Progress In Electromagnetics Research M, Vol. 88, 65-71, 2020


After reaffirming that the macroscopic dipolar electromagnetic equations, which today are commonly referred to as Maxwell's equations, are found in Maxwell's Treatise, we explain from his Treatise that Maxwell defined his displacement vector D as the electric polarization and did not introduce in his Treatise or papers the concept of electric polarization P or the associated electric-polarization volume and surface charge densities, -n.P and n.P, respectively. With this realization, we show that Maxwell's discussion of surface charge density between volume elements of dielectrics and between dielectrics and conductors becomes understandable and valid within the context of his definition of electric polarization as displacement D. Apparently, this identification of D with electric polarization in Maxwell's work has not been previously pointed out or documented except very briefly in [2].


Arthur Yaghjian, "Maxwell's Definition of Electric Polarization as Displacement," Progress In Electromagnetics Research M, Vol. 88, 65-71, 2020.


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