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Girwidz, Raimund V. (2016): Visualizing dipole radiation. In: European Journal of Physics, Vol. 37, No. 6, 65206

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The Hertzian dipole is fundamental to the understanding of dipole radiation. It provides basic insights into the genesis of electromagnetic waves and lays the groundwork for an understanding of half-wave antennae and other types. Equations for the electric and magnetic fields of such a dipole can be derived mathematically. However these are very abstract descriptions. Interpreting these equations and understanding travelling electromagnetic waves are highly limited in that sense. Visualizations can be a valuable supplement that vividly present properties of electromagnetic fields and their propagation. The computer simulation presented below provides additional instructive illustrations for university lectures on electrodynamics, broadening the experience well beyond what is possible with abstract equations. This paper refers to a multimedia program for PCs, tablets and smartphones, and introduces and discusses several animated illustrations. Special features of multiple representations and combined illustrations will be used to provide insight into spatial and temporal characteristics of field distributions-which also draw attention to the flow of energy. These visualizations offer additional information, including the relationships between different representations that promote deeper understanding. Finally, some aspects are also illustrated that often remain unclear in lectures.

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