Student handout: Using Technology to Visualize Potentials
Static Fields 2024
Begin by prompting the students to brainstorm different ways to represent a three dimensional scalar field on a 2-D surface (like their paper or a whiteboard). The students use a pre-made Sage code or a Mathematica worksheet to visualize the electrostatic potential of several distributions of charges. The computer algebra systems demonstrate several different ways of plotting the potential.
How to represent 3-d scalar fields in several different ways;
The symmetries of a some simple charge distributions such as a dipole and a quadrupole.
Brainstorm several different ways in which you might visualize a scalar field in three dimensions, using graphs. You might want to use the electrostatic potential \(V\) due to some simple configurations like a quadrupole of charges as examples.
After you have brainstormed ideas of your own, open this Sage code or this Mathematica worksheet and explore some of the ways implemented there. If you have a different visualization, please bring it to the attention of the teaching team and we may incorporate it next year!