Classical Field Theory

The Classical Field Theory


Earlier physicists discover that atoms were point particles or dots, appearing as tiny specks of solid elements and floating in a vast space of emptiness and nothingness. Through a long process of chance coalescence and combination, these tiny dots produced bigger dots that were at the beginning simple but later became more complex as evolution progressed. But this contention has been challenged.

Later scientists say that the fabric of the Cosmos is not dot-like but more akin to “lines of force” or simply “fields.” Michael Faraday contended that space is not empty but saturated with electric and magnetic fields. According to him, these fields are present whenever and wherever there is mass. They are also “the source of the gravitational force” (Carl S. Heinrich, 2012). Thus, the idea of field began to be entertained as the fabric of the Cosmos.

James Clark Maxwell later reinforced this field concept in his two published papers, one “On Faradays Lines of Force” in 1855-56 and the other “On Physical Lines of Force” in 1861-62.

His greatest contribution was in constructing an extremely classy mathematical theory demonstrating that “a wave of electromagnetic energy would spread out into space like a ripple on a pond, changing the nature of space itself.”

This idea led to the view that light is simply a tiny band in a vast spectrum of electromagnetic waves (Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon, 2014).

In effect, Faraday and Maxwell integrated electricity, magnetism, and light into one coherent and consistent theory. The field became known as the fabric as well as the storehouse and transmitter of energy that “pervades the physical world, the electromagnetic field” (Forbes and Mahon (2014). Thus, a new cosmic paradigm emerged, portraying the Cosmos as soaked in a field of energy. W. Thiring (in Capra, 1975:208) had this to say about the field:

The field exists always and is everywhere; it can never be removed. It is the carrier of all material phenomena. It is the ‘void’ out of which the proton creates the pi-mesons. Being and fading of particles are merely forms of motion of the field.

Newton expanded the materialist view by symbolizing the Cosmos as a mechanical clock, governed by fixed laws that determine its movements and changes. According to him, the world is like a machine, regulated by physical forces, referring to the laws of inertia, momentum, and motion. According to him, together with the law of gravity, these forces became the basic laws of Nature that ensure stability and order of the entire sSolar sSystem. Obeying the rules of these forces, the Cosmos works in mechanically predictable ways and with clockwork precision. Later, physicists even contended that these basic laws of physics operate also in non-physical realities like our thoughts and emotions. But while Newton conceived of time and space as the fabric of the Cosmos, he argued that they are unrelated and unconnected to each other.

This view changed with the emergence of the gravitational field theory.