When we hear “electromagnetic field,” often what comes to mind are lightning bolts and supervillains with the power to bend metal. We think of large pulses and strange natural phenomena that cause the light bulbs in our kitchen to flicker during a family dinner. Although these portrayals of the field may be a bit outlandish, the general principles behind it are relatively similar. An electromagnetic field or “EMF” is a radiating point in space that is caused by the movement of charged particles.
Charged particles, in turn, are elements or ions that have a predilection towards donating or receiving an electron. This continuous back and forth in space creates a field of activity not unlike a football match, except every player wants a ball and countless balls keep coming in and out of play. Imagine the collisions in that game. Well, that’s part of what is measured when we look at these fields: the movement and crash of these charged particles. But what are some real-world examples of the EMFs around and within us? What is it, exactly, and are they really as ubiquitous as it as often portrayed as?
Fields From Within
The human body has trillions of infinitesimally small biochemical reactions happening all at once, from the moment you’re conceived until the day you’re dust. These processes propel every decision, every meal, and every other thing you can think of–including thought. One of the most notable electromagnetic fields is that of the human heart. The AV and SA nodes in the heart serve as an electrical source and generate a powerful charge, causing the muscles in your heart itself to contract hard enough to push countless liters of blood throughout a surface area of roughly three tennis courts. This, in turn, creates a large EMF around us all, just with that process alone.
Technology and Natural Force
We consider EMFs one of the four fundamental forces of nature, along with gravity, weak interaction, and strong interaction. The big question coming into play, is what other electromagnetic fields are around us? What do they do? Well, a big example is a device you’re reading this on, right at this moment. A directed and contained charge, continuously surging through every device, lets out its own EMF with every cycle. It’s also the reason why a microwave oven heats up the food. It’s in the name itself microwave. This same idea is present in television and radio.
The ability to transmit information packets from anywhere on the globe, via satellites and receivers, really shines a light on the expanse and growing concentration of electrical fields. All telecommunications are based on it. Any time you see “wave” in the description, you best believe that it is generating an EMF. Although, current technology seems to have made an improvement in radiant emissions, especially in TVs. Remember those old cathode-ray tubes? Once again, it’s in the name.
On any scale, the byproduct of an electromagnetic field is radiation, usually in the form of heat. Now, more often than not, the amount of radiation produced by household devices aren’t enough to directly harm us, research is still going on to determine whether it may affect micro-processes individually. Scientists are currently working towards connecting disease-based models with controlled, in-vitro lab studies.
These fields play an essential role in our modern lifestyle. But as some scientists and independent researchers may claim, too much exposure and at high frequencies may not be the best for us. It truly is up to the individual to determine whether being around stronger fields is what they want and whether one is willing to consciously interfere.
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