Revista mexicana de física E
versão impressa ISSN 1870-3542
MEDINA, L e LEY KOO, E. Mathematics motivated by physics: the electrostatic potential is the Coulomb integral transform of the electric charge density. Rev. mex. fís. E [online]. 2008, vol.54, n.2, pp. 153-159. ISSN 1870-3542.
This article illustrates a practical way to connect and coordinate the teaching and learning of physics and mathematics. The starting point is the electrostatic potential, which is obtained in any introductory course of electromagnetism from the Coulomb potential and the superposition principle for any charge distribution. The necessity to develop solutions to the Laplace and Poisson differential equations is also recognized, identifying the Coulomb potential as the generating function of harmonic functions. Correspondingly, the convenience of expressing the electrostatic potential in terms of its multipole expansion in spherical coordinates, or as integral transforms based on harmonic functions in different coordinate systems, is also established. These connections provide a motivation for teachers and students to acquire the necessary mathematics as a basic tool in the study of electromagnetic theory, optics and quantum mechanics
Palavras-chave : Electrostatics; Laplace and Poisson equations; spherical and circular cylindrical Harmonic functions.