Bringing space physics concepts into introductory electromagnetism



Many of the concepts that have arisen in space plasma research over the last four decades can be profitably incorporated into the teaching of introductory physics. In this article is an example of how research concepts can inform and improve instruction in basic science courses. There are other examples of this transference, and the community of space physics researchers should make an effort to publicize the ways in which this research can be used to improve instruction in the educational system.

Space physicists regularly use a concept that is unfamiliar to the majority of professional physicists: the concept of moving electromagnetic field lines. Space physicists state that "magnetic flux is eroded from the dayside magnetosphere" or "the magnetic field lines in the vicinity of Io move with Io and not with Jupiter."