Flux and Gauss' Law

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This video examines Gauss' Law and area integrals in detail, focusing on extracting as many variables as possible from the integral through careful choice of a Gaussian surface. Symmetry is defined and used extensively, and students have an opportunity to choose a surface that will maximize symmetry for a given situation. The video also includes a brief discussion of when approximations are appropriate, and finishes with MIT professors and postdoctoral students explaining how they think about flux.

Learning Objectives

After watching this video students will be able to:

  • Implement Gauss’ Law more effectively.
  • Give an organized view of electric flux.
  • Categorize situations by symmetry.
  • Learn how to choose a Gaussian surface.


Funding provided by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Developed by the Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) at MIT for SUTD

MIT © 2012

Related Resources

Instructor Guide

This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Flux and Gauss' Law Instructor Guide (PDF)

It is highly recommended that the video is paused when prompted so that students are able to attempt the activities on their own and then check their solutions against the video.

During the video, students will:

  • Take notes.
  • Choose appropriate Gaussian surfaces for use in a set of Gauss' Law problems.

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  • English-US (SRT)