View Poll Results: For those who have used this book  
Strongly Recommend  18  81.82%  
Lightly Recommend  4  18.18%  
Lightly don't Recommend  0  0%  
Strongly don't Recommend  0  0%  
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll 
Register to reply 
Classical Electricity and Magnetism by Edward Purcellby bcrowell
Tags: None 
Share this thread: 
#1
Jan2013, 02:23 PM

Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,578

Table of Contents: 1. Electrostatics: charges and fields 2. The electric potential 3. Electric field around conductors 4. Electric currents 5. The fields of moving charges 6. The magnetic field 7. Electromagnetic induction 8. Alternatingcurrent circuits 9. Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic waves 10. Electric fields in matter 11. Magnetic fields in matter Appendixes Index. 


#2
Jan2013, 02:24 PM

Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,578

This is a bestofbreed book. Its highlight is the extensive use of relativity to develop the idea of electromagnetism as the first unified field theory. Although the book does present the mathematical tools of vector calculus from scratch, it is clearly designed for students who are physics majors, have had a substantial high school physics course, and have had strong mathematical preparation. I would not dare to use this book to teach an E&M course to a less elite audience.
The use of cgs units in this book is IMO a nuisance. Given the book's emphasis on relativity as a link between electricity and magnetism, it's nice to use a system in which E and B have the same units. However, I prefer to handle this by using SI units and writing Maxwell's equations with the coupling constants expressed as k and k/c^2, which makes the relativistic links almost as evident and allows a much easier connection with practical laboratory measurements. There is a 3rd edition coming out in 2013 from Cambridge Press, as Purcell and Morin, and it will have SI units  yay! I would not recommend buying the 2nd edition at this point. The book is extremely old, and although Maxwell's equations haven't changed, some of the discussion of experimental evidence, e.g., bounds on the nonneutrality of the hydrogen atom, are many decades out of date. 


#3
Jan2013, 02:42 PM

C. Spirit
Sci Advisor
Thanks
P: 5,401

Would you recommend Purcell over Griffiths for someone who is looking for a deep conceptual understanding? What I mean is, when the level of mathematics is no issue, would you say the problems in Purcell tend to instill a deeper understanding or the problems in Griffiths or are they about equal? I'm not sure how much relativity Griffiths uses but approaching EM from a SR point of view would be more appealing.



#4
Jan2013, 03:19 PM

Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 5,578

Electricity and Magnetism by Edward Purcell



#5
Jan2013, 03:21 PM

C. Spirit
Sci Advisor
Thanks
P: 5,401




#6
Jan2213, 04:31 PM

P: 690

(I am only familiar with 2nd edition, as it was the required book for second semester physics)
This is a fantastic book on classical electromagnetism, designed for freshmen/sophmores (at least in US). The exposition yields significant insight into the physics and is truly enjoyable. Some of the problems are straightforward, while others require significant amounts of work and insight. In principle the book "teaches" the vector calculus that is required, but in reality prior knowledge of vector calculus is highly recommended. The book mostly covers electrostatics, magnetostatics, induction, and fields in matter. Electromagnetic waves are certainly included but not emphasized. A great followon book that covers waves brilliantly is "electromagnetic vibrations, waves, and radiation" by Bekefi and Barrett. While I really enjoy this book, I am not convinced it is appropriate for most students as a first exposure to the subject. My second semester physics course was based on Purcell and I found it to be too challenging. I had never seen any electromagnetic theory or vector calculus before. Yes, there were a few students in class that seemed to easily grasp everything, but most of us really struggled just to survive. I did learn a lot from the course and the book, but I would have learned even more had the book (or the professor!!!!) been a tad more helpful. Still, the book did capture my imagination and to this day I have a love of electromagnetic theory that was instilled by this book. 


#7
Jan2213, 04:36 PM

C. Spirit
Sci Advisor
Thanks
P: 5,401

The 3rd edition actually came out (either yesterday or today). It was redone by Morin so you can trust it will be good (based on the draft he didn't change the text itself but rather added a slew of more difficult problems about half of which have solutions in the text).



#8
Jan2213, 04:39 PM

P: 108

The Book is very Low I read it with the whole Berkeley Physics Course (in Academic Year 10) when I have to Appear for AP Physics B.



#10
Jan2213, 04:51 PM

P: 246




#11
Jan2213, 04:56 PM

P: 108

What to do, not any Algebra based Physics book was available in my country that time and also I have no PC or Internet to checkout, So I just started with University Physics 12th Ed. and After that this Berkeley.
This is the same type Question most IPhO preparing student ask, If IPhO don't require calculus in solving their problems then why do show Calculus based Solutions. 


#12
Jan2513, 09:48 PM

P: 615




#13
Jan2913, 04:08 AM

P: 93




#14
Jan2913, 04:13 AM

P: 53




#15
Jan2913, 04:28 AM

P: 93

I knew there was a catch in that bargain! I bought it used last year but it's in cgs (first edition, then). Valuable book nonetheless, as all the other volumes of the Berkeley Physics Course. Perhaps there should be an entry for the whole set. 


#16
Feb213, 04:23 AM

P: 93

I know for sure that the first edition of Purcell uses k = 1 in the definition of the Coulomb force (please forgive the lack of subscripts, I believe it's clear what I am trying to say here) F = q1 q2 / r^2 (a sample of Maxwell's equations for the first AND second edition: div E = 4 π ρ, rot B = 1/c dE/dt + 4 π J / c) while most modern em books use F = 1/4 π ε q1 q2 / r^2, div E = ρ/ε, rot B = 1/c^2 dE/dt + μ J So, I was wondering, since I could buy the hardbound 3rd edition at a good price, in which unit system is it cast? Or, to make matter simpler, how are those maxwell's equations written? 


#17
Feb713, 07:40 AM

P: 93

Ok, I could not resist and I ordered it on Amazon (starting from the page in this forum, I hope the 6% transfer has worked all right). It arrived today and yes, the third edition does away with the gaussian units and is actually using a full feathered SI.
That is, these are the equations it uses F = 1/4 π ε q1 q2 / r^2,(Not true for the second edition though). 


#18
Feb1213, 06:16 PM

PF Gold
P: 3,072




Register to reply 
Related Discussions  
Purcell  Electricity and Magnetism  Science & Math Textbooks  1  
Electricity and magnetism HELP  Science & Math Textbooks  1  
Electricity and magnetism  General Physics  6  
Purcell's Electricity and Magnetism  question  Introductory Physics Homework  2 