|Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003
Gently put, your assumption is incorrect. To the contrary, the EM field and potential are considered "external parameters" in classical thermodynamics. To change EM energy from the virtual state to the observable state connected with matter, is indeed a change of form of the energy --- and work is DEFINED as the change of form of energy. Thermodynamics unfortunately defines the change of the magnitude of an external parameter as work, which is not necessarily true.
This fundamental error -- of improperly defining work, and erroneously defining energy as work --- is contained in the present statement of the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy law). There it is erroneously assumed (from the hoary old days) that a change in the MAGNITUDE of the external parameter is work, a priori. That is not quite true. It only RESULTS in work if the FORM of the input energy is different, and it has to be changed in form. Merely increasing or decreasing the potential of a system (and therefore the potential energy of the system) is NOT work at all, but is simple regauging, and is free --- as shown by the gauge freedom axiom of quantum field theory.
Change from virtual energy to observable energy is indeed such a change in form of the energy, and is a broken symmetry in the virtual energy flux of the vacuum itself, right out of standard particle physics. Therefore the source charge is indeed continuously doing work, because it absorbs virtual energy and changes its form to observable energy.
If really interested in the effects, see Michael Leyton's revolutionary new discovery and group theoretic proof of the hierarchies of symmetry. I have just finished applying his marvelous work to the source charge, and it does generate every level of happening that occurs, from the virtual state to the potential or field on the charge, to the emission of observable photons in all directions, to the appearance of higher order and determinism in the conglomeration of those photons (the fields and potentials), etc. It continues through the various higher levels to the conservation of energy for the whole universe, then even outside it to the superuniverse, if one accepts the creation of universes (as by a big bang, etc.).
In my opinion, for the first time Leyton's work shows the absolutely required production of negative entropy, by consuming entropy at the next lower level. A broken symmetry at one level, can consume disorder at one level and generates a new symmetry (controlled order) at the next higher level. Nothing like this has existed before, and it completely overturns the present second law of thermodynamics. The present second law is already proven to be violated to the cubic micron level and for up to two seconds, by Wang and Evans et al. That a system can produce negative entropy, continuing to decrease toward negative infinity as time passes, has been shown by Evans and Rondoni. They could find no physical system doing it, but the source charge does, and the source charge is indeed a deterministic dissipative system --- which they carefully stated still "has the problem" (of the negative entropy). Stay tuned for my expose of a little summary of all that, very soon now, on my website.
A few references of interest are given below.