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# Classical Electricity and Magnetism by Edward Purcell

by bcrowell
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P: 1,055
 Quote by mheslep How do you reach that conclusion?
Are you actually asking? It's common knowledge it's one of the most, if not the most, advanced introductory text books on E&M.
C. Spirit
Thanks
P: 5,599
 Quote by mheslep How do you reach that conclusion?
It brings out magnetism using special relativity and talks about the vector potential formulation of maxwell's equations...do you see other standard freshman level EM texts doing this?
 P: 335 Does anyone else have the new edition? I was aware they were changing units, but are there any other substantial changes? I've only seen the excerpt chapter pdf.
 P: 350 This was my freshman EM book. I loved it. For me, the Gaussian-CGS units (k=1!) were a highlight, so I am sorry to hear that they are changing that part. Actually, if I am honest, then I will admit that MeV were confusing at first. But it made the learning all the richer once I figured it out. To be overly dramatic, this book freed me from SI rigid thinking. More realistically, I just enjoyed the course and found the physics interesting.
C. Spirit
Thanks
P: 5,599
 Quote by mishima Does anyone else have the new edition? I was aware they were changing units, but are there any other substantial changes? I've only seen the excerpt chapter pdf.
There are a ton of new problems, many of them having detailed solutions, and there are some new appendices and worked examples but other than that it seems the same.
PF Gold
P: 3,098
 Quote by WannabeNewton It brings out magnetism using special relativity and talks about the vector potential formulation of maxwell's equations...do you see other standard freshman level EM texts doing this?
I've not reviewed the suite of EM texts. In general, outside faculty and TA's, I have not found those who have (reviewed all competing textbooks). Then of course there is second hand knowledge.
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 5,597 I ordered a copy of the 3rd edition ($76), and compared it side by side with my disintegrating copy of the 1965 1st edition. The price is amazingly reasonable compared to the kind of exploitative prices you see these days for textbooks. One thing I'd never noticed before is that the 1st edition has a notice on its copyright page saying that it's available for royalty-free use after 1970. (It was an NSF-sponsored project.) So theoretically it's legal to scan it and put it on the web for free. However, what I find when I look around on the web is people illegally making the 2nd edition available through sleazy file-sharing sites. The 3rd edition is almost twice the bulk of the 1st. This is mostly because there are far more problems, and many of them have complete solutions in the back of the book. This is a great new feature. There is also an applications section at the end of every chapter. For the most part, though, it's exactly the same text with only a very few minor changes here and there. The line art is mostly the same. The graphic design isn't as nice as in the 1st edition, which often used gray backgrounds on the figures, with a full bleed. In the 3rd edition, the figures often aren't sufficiently clearly divided from the text, and the effect is extremely ugly. The big change is the switch to SI units. Three cheers.  Sci Advisor P: 8,555 From the preface of the 3rd edition of Jackson: For many years Ed Purcell and I had a pact to support each other in the use of Gaussian units. Now I have betrayed him! P: 692  Quote by bcrowell ... The 3rd edition is almost twice the bulk of the 1st. This is mostly because there are far more problems, and many of them have complete solutions in the back of the book. This is a great new feature. There is also an applications section at the end of every chapter. For the most part, though, it's exactly the same text with only a very few minor changes here and there. The line art is mostly the same. The graphic design isn't as nice as in the 1st edition, which often used gray backgrounds on the figures, with a full bleed. In the 3rd edition, the figures often aren't sufficiently clearly divided from the text, and the effect is extremely ugly. The big change is the switch to SI units. Three cheers. That sounds great - the next generation of students to use this book will certainly benefit from the extra problems with solutions. Much more convenient than what I tried to do: dig through the physics library attempting to find solved problems in books that were at the appropriate level! As an EE I of course use SI exclusively, but I found that learning EM in cgs first did not present any kind of problem later on in my education / carreer, so I am mostly agnostic to that change. P: 11 Since special relativity has been touched upon. I would suggest reading Helliwell's Special Relativity text which is intended for students that have completed their first course in mechanics. @WannabeNewton: Could you elaborate? I was beginning to buy Purcell after having my first introduction of SR through Helliwell.  Quote by Bob Z. Please consider CLASSICAL MECHANICS by John Taylor. Check out the reviews on Amazon.com- they are phenomenal. I ordered the book recently and have gone thru the 1st 3 chapters so far. All the reviews on this textbook are true! It is EXCELLENT! (While in college many yrs ago we were brought up with MECHANICS by Keith Symon. The problems are next to impossible to solve which can be VERY discouraging.) I thought this was a more advanced text than an introductory level text?  C. Spirit Sci Advisor Thanks P: 5,599 Pardon but elaborate on what exactly fras?  P: 11 I know you mean it to be rigorous when you say hardcore, but I would like to know in what way that is different from texts like Halliday or Freedman's Physics when approaching Electricity and Magnetism. Right now I know vector calculus and would consider myself pretty proficient in that area, and I understand SR to the degree that I can at my current level, but if Purcell requires me to know math higher than Calculus 3, then I probably won't buy the book.  C. Spirit Sci Advisor Thanks P: 5,599 No it is not hardcore in the sense of high level math. Indeed it doesn't go beyond calc 3. When I said hardcore I meant that the problems can get very hard (especially in the 3rd edition) and that it uses special relativity to derive much of electrodynamics; also keep in mind that this text is usually used in honors freshman classes on EM so when I use the word 'hardcore' I mean relative to that.  P: 11 Alright, thank you. If the problems are a level higher than Kleppner's in difficulty, I may enjoy having a go at them. As for Kleppner though, I read the book after completing a course in mechanics, so I didn't read it knowing nothing at all. But from what I did read of the text, I will say it is worth it for the more studious person that would like more rigor than the base and rather glossy explanation of other texts.  C. Spirit Sci Advisor Thanks P: 5,599 Wait, keep in mind that Kleppner is a mechanics text and Purcell is an EM text. But yes personally I found the problems in Purcell to be harder than the ones in Kleppner, disregarding the fact that they are different subjects. P: 308  Quote by WannabeNewton They're both brilliant books. Kleppner is quite doable if you keep at it but Purcell is hardcore. You should make sure you're prepared beforehand. For example the 3rd edition of Purcell assumes you've seen a comprehensive introduction to SR (special relativity) beforehand. Thanks for the input. I think I'm going to keep my eye out for a good deal on the Kleppner book. I won't actually be starting university physics until spring, so I've got a little while. Could you recommend a book that would be a good intro to SR? I'll have an entire summer between physics 1 and 2, and using that summer to self study some SR sounds like a good idea. I checked out the Helliwell book that Fras recommended, and it looks like a good book. I'm seeing great reviews in several places, and a lot of people saying that it's great for self study. Sounds like it doesn't use very high level math either, which will be good, considering I'll only have up to Calc II by that time. P: 855  Quote by atyy =D With today's price tag, I had half a mind to add "after I strike gold". Edit: Hmm, seems to be not terrible actually at USD 45. I somehow remembered it as USD 300! My copy (1973 Ed) purchased new in 1974 still has$12.95 price in pencil inside. What's the annual inflation for a 20 year doubling time? 3.5% ? Did I do that right?
 P: 239 FYI there is an international edition for Kleppner. I found it for less than \$10 at a used book store. @QuantumCurt: MIT ocw has a course on SR that can be taken after a freshman physics course. Here is the syllabus (with books): http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8...2006/syllabus/

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