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Visualization of Curl


This is a great visualization and explanation, of the curl of a vector field:

http://mathinsight.org/curl_idea

If you interpret a vector field as the flow of a fluid, then you can interpret the curl as a measure of the tendency to rotate at a given point.

One way to think of this is to imagine a tiny sphere, or paddle-wheel, fixed at a point in space, and then consider how that object would rotate if subjected to the flow of fluid as given by the vector field.

This write-up and series of animations from MathInsight.org are very useful in attaching some intuition to this complex idea.

Click here to see more in Resources.

www.MrHonner.com

  1. May 7, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for pointing out this page. I would not have known of it otherwise. The book by Purcell on EM has had a great effect on teaching EM and has similar pictures.

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