Electricity and Magnetism

There is magic in this world. We call it electricity.

OK, before everyone yells at me, I don't actually believe that electricity is magical. I do, however, believe that it's not exactly easy to get to grips with how it works, especially when you get to things like flux and Gauss's law and the idea of shielding conductors. This is based on my personal experience and the fact that out of 300 people in my year, a good proportion of us are having trouble with our electricity and magnetism course.

My year isn't stupid; in fact, we're probably the brightest cohort in a while according to the metrics my university uses.

I go to the university where they invented graphene and where Rutherford overturned the "plum pudding" model of the atom in his famous experiment. Not too shabby. It's not like we're a degree mill.

Anyway, the point is that even very intelligent people get confused by electricity and magnetism. In my opinion, this is because the concepts and methods aren't intuitively obvious - electric potential? Using imaginary Gaussian surfaces to find the charge enclosed by a surface? The field inside a conductor being zero? Charge on the surface of an electrically neutral conductor?

What the fuck?

I don't think any of these are particularly obvious concepts. Some of them don't have analogues with situations we're used to. And just doing the maths isn't particularly helpful; you need to train your brain in a whole different way.

But what I'm trying to say is that it can be done, that one day you wake up after puzzling over your books and things just make sense, that one day electricity and magnetism are not magic any more but concrete things that you understand, and that not understanding it in the first place was and is perfectly okay.