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Intuitively Understand Stokes Theorem

May 26, 2009

I’ve been studying electromagnetism, and Maxwell’s equations for the past year or so.  After working through an entire Calculus textbook to bring my mathematics skills up to the level they needed to be, I started to work problems in vector integral calculus and came across Stokes theorem.  Talk about strange!  I had absolutely NO IDEA what they were doing.

The textbook related a line integral around the base of a surface with a sort of curl surface integral, and then was kind enough to show a terse proof that there’s no way anyone intuitively understood.

Well, for all of you physicists and mathematicians out there who need help understanding this, and all you can find on the internet is a bunch of the same cryptic mathematical garbage that’s in the math textbooks, I’ve decided to post Richard Feynman’s discussion on the topic, found in his lectures on physics. He makes it incredibly easy to understand.  It’s found in the 2nd volume of the set.  I scanned it, and here it is.

feynman-stokes-theorem

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Tags: feynman lectures, integral calculus, vector calculus

Topics: Physics | 1 Comment »

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