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5. The Right Hand Rule and Superposition

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In this mini-lecture, we introduce the right hand rule and superposition, focusing in particular on: (i) how to use the right hand rule to determine the direction of the magnetic field of a wire carrying current; (ii) the superposition principle, where we see that if there is more than one source of a magnetic field, then the magnetic field at some point is the sum of all the magnetic fields at that point; and (iii) two examples that require the right hand rule and the superposition principle to solve.


In this course, Professor Mohamed Anber (Durham University) explores magnetism. In the first mini-lecture, we discuss the magnetic fields of natural magnets and infinite wires carrying current. In the second mini-lecture we define the magnetic force and explore examples involving the magnetic force of one infinite wire on another. The third mini-lecture introduces magnetic flux in order to understand Faraday’s Law. In the fourth mini-lecture we turn towards an application of magnetism, the electric generator, and work through a calculation that gives us the electromotive force (EMF) of the electric generator. The fifth mini-lecture introduces a useful tool called the right hand rule that allows us to determine the direction of a magnetic field due to a wire carrying current, before introducing the principle of superposition and using these two new concepts in a variety of examples involving two infinite wires carrying current. The sixth and final mini-lecture goes over two demonstrations, the first involving natural magnets, and the second displaying Faraday’s Law.


Mohamed Anber is a Professor of Mathematical and Theoretical Particle Physics at Durham University. At the time of filming his course on magnetism, he was a Professor of Physics at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon in the United States. His research interests involve a broad range of theoretical physics topics, including those in quantum field theory and theoretical cosmology.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Anber, M. (2022, January 12). Magnetism - The Right Hand Rule and Superposition [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Anber, Mohamed. "Magnetism – The Right Hand Rule and Superposition." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Jan 2022,

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