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field

A region in which a body experiences a force as the result of the presence of some other body or bodies. A field is thus a method of representing the way in which bodies are able to influence each other. For example, a body that has mass is surrounded by a region in which another body that has mass experiences a force tending to draw the two bodies together. This is the gravitational field. The other three fundamental interactions can also be represented by means of fields of force. However in the case of the magnetic field and electric field that together create the electromagnetic interaction, the force can vary in direction according to the character of the field. For example, in the field surrounding a negatively charged body, a positively charged body will experience a force of attraction, while another negatively charged body is repelled.

The strength of any field can be described as the ratio of the force experienced by a small appropriate specimen to the relevant property of that specimen, e.g. force/mass for the gravitational field.

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  • Category: General science
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