Electromagnetic Models of the Electron and the Transition from Classical to Relativistic Mechanics

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Janssen, Michel; Mecklenburg, Matthew
preprint description
This paper is part II of a trilogy on the transition from classical particle mechanics to relativistic continuum mechanics that one of the authors is working on. The first part, on the Trouton experiment, was published in the Stachel festschrift (Janssen 2003). This paper focuses on the Lorentz-Poincaré electron, and, in particular, on the "Poincaré pressure" or "Poincaré stresses" introduced to stabilize the electron. It covers both the original argument by Poincaré (1906) and a modern relativistic argument for adding a negative pressure term to the system's energy-momentum tensor inspired by the work of Laue (1911a, b). It highlights the importance of a paper by Lorentz (1899) in this context and of the "electromagnetic mechanics" of Abraham (1903).