Anisotropy in Electromagnetic Interactions

* Information on an apparent electromagnetic asymmetry *
by Borge Nodland

A type of symmetry breaking appears to be present in the propagation of electromagnetic waves over vast distances. This irregularity may be of importance for our understanding of electromagnetism. On these pages, I present material that illustrates and discusses the finding.

Deep space

The research leading up to this finding consisted of an analysis of electromagnetic radiation data that has been compiled and published by several independent research groups since the 1980's. In our analysis, John Ralston and I studied polarization measurements of electromagnetic synchrotron radiation emitted by distant radio galaxies. Extensive, computer aided calculations indicates that this radiation exhibits an unconventional rotation of its polarization plane. The effect is small, and comes in addition to other known, conventional polarization rotation effects.

The polarization rotation has the characteristic property that it depends systematically on the angle between the radiation's direction of travel and a fixed direction in space. This result indicates that electromagnetic interactions are anisotropic in nature. It defies the notion that, in electromagnetism, all spatial directions are equivalent.

Our research has also focused on constructing a theoretical generalization of electrodynamics that incorporates anisotropy in a way consistent with the observed data.

Description of finding:


In-depth account

Original publications

Some popular accounts:

Physics News Update

Science News

The New York Times

The Associated Press


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