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Physics LibreTexts

22: Magnetism

Magnetism is a class of physical phenomena that are mediated by magnetic fields. Electric currents and the magnetic moments of elementary particles give rise to a magnetic field, which acts on other currents and magnetic moments. Every material is influenced to some extent by a magnetic field.

Thumbnail: Magnetic field of an ideal cylindrical magnet with its axis of symmetry inside the image plane. The magnetic field is represented by magnetic field lines, which show the direction of the field at different points. Image used with permission (CC-SA-BY-3.0; Geek3).


  • Paul Peter Urone (Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento) and Roger Hinrichs (State University of New York, College at Oswego) with Contributing Authors: Kim Dirks (University of Auckland) and Manjula Sharma (University of Sydney). This work is licensed by OpenStax University Physics under a Creative Commons Attribution License (by 4.0).