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Best Electromagnetics book?

  1. Dec 6, 2006 #1
    I am currently finishing up my third year level electromagnetics course and we used Griffith;s E&M book

    next semester i have the final E&M course that i need to take

    SO iw as wondering which book would best prepare me for that course

    should i keep studying from Griffith's book - chatper 8 on...?

    Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics

    Principles of electrodynamics by Schwartz, Melvin, 1932-

    Or would you suggest an enitrely different book

    I would like to stick to the one of hte above 3 books since it is available at my local library .. what are the odds...
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 7, 2006 #2
    I don't know Griffiths. It's certainly well liked around here, and you already have the text. And while I'd probably leave working the problems for class so that you're fresher for the tests, reading ahead will certainly help in a crunch.

    I'd check out both Jackson and Schwartz, but I'm betting you'll find Schwartz a lot more readable. Schwartz does not go into things with anything close to the detail and generality of Jackson, (Schwartz is under 340 pages of text) but that makes it actually easier to absorb the concepts on a first pass. Compare their respective chapters on waveguides, for example. I know I learned a lot more from Schwartz, because it wasn't like drinking from a firehose. The care and detail of Jackson may be something you appreciate more once you've learned the subject fairly well (If it helps to feel more confident of the bonafides of the author, Schwartz shared the 1988 Nobel prize in Physics with Leon Lederman and Jack Steinberger for the discovery of the muon neutrino.)
  4. Dec 7, 2006 #3
    Griffiths is superb. The later chapters, even though the math gets harder, are still well written. I haven't used Jackson or Schwartz, but I would use Griffiths while you can, if it covers the material you're studying. Of course, my experience is merely a course like yours that managed to get all the way through Griffiths in one semester...
  5. Dec 7, 2006 #4
    I would think that if you've already studied from Griffiths, you already own it, and likely you'll have to study it again later for your second E&M course, then it would be good to go with Griffiths. It's an excellent book, anyway.
  6. Dec 7, 2006 #5
    I really like the book by Wangsness. If you intend to one day tackle Jackson then this book is the perfect intermediate step between Griffiths (excellent first book but sloppy on the details) and Jackson (very rigorous).
  7. Dec 7, 2006 #6
    the library actually does have more than those books i could probably find other books if i knew which ones to look for

    I found Wangsness book - for use with Electromagnetic fields, for example.. but its in CHINESE
  8. Dec 7, 2006 #7

    from chapter 1 all the way till relativistic EM??

    ... how long is your semester??
  9. Dec 7, 2006 #8


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    I would use Wangsness instead of Griffiths for what corresponds to chapter 9 of Griffiths.
  10. Dec 7, 2006 #9


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    Schwartz is a wonderful book, full of insight. It's pitched at an advanced undergrad level, so I think it works well as a supplemental text.

    BTW, your annotation should read 1932-2006. Sadly Mel passed away a few months ago.
  11. Dec 7, 2006 #10

    Dr Transport

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    Griffiths doesn't hold a candle to Wangsness in any way shape or form.
  12. Dec 7, 2006 #11
    chapter 9 is EM waves

    do you mean from this chapter on or just this chapter

    chatpers after this are potential & fields, radiation, and finally EM and relativity
  13. Dec 8, 2006 #12


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    I meant just this chapter. Griffith's chapter 9 is Wangsness chapter 24, 25, 26.

    Chapter 10 of Griffiths is Wangsness paragraph 27-1, so Griffiths is better there.

    I have read the radiation chapter of neither book, so I can't make a recommandation there.

    For the relativity chapter, I would have a preference for Griffiths becauses he works in tensor notation with Einstein's notation, which is the modern way to do relativity.
  14. Dec 15, 2008 #13
    This is the first time I study EM and I do have quite a few books including J D Jackson, David K Cheng, Ulaby,Hayt & Buck, Popovic, Griffiths.

    I just got Griffiths so no comments. So far, I like D K Cheng the most, Ulaby is too simple for even introduction. The only chapter I like so far is CPT 7 which go through the phasor very well. I am a self studyer so I like something with detail math and proof. Cheng to me is the best, Jackson is too difficult for me at this point, it should be a good book after Cheng. From flipping through Griffiths very fast, it should be at the same level as Cheng but don't know the detail.

    Don't get Hayt and Buck. That is about the worst book. The only reason I bought it was because U of Santa Clara use this for their graduate EM class and I might want to enroll in that class in the future.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
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