- #36

Amrator

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OP, just start with Electricity & Magnetism by Purcell supplemented by A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations by Fleisch. If you don't like Purcell, then maybe try Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism by Arthur Kip.

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- Thread starter Mr.Husky
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- #36

Amrator

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OP, just start with Electricity & Magnetism by Purcell supplemented by A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations by Fleisch. If you don't like Purcell, then maybe try Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism by Arthur Kip.

- #37

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I find the Lienard-Wiechert potentials really loose their intimitating nature when treating them relativistically. Here's my try to explain them (Sect. 4.5):I found electrodynamics to be the hardest topic in my undergraduate curriculum.

In my second course on undergraduate intermediate electrodynamics (time-dependent stuff) my professor gave us copies of Sadiku, and I hated it. Probably a bias against EE texts.

Griffiths is good enough for most topics, but if I remember correctly, the treatment of the Lieanrd-Wierchert potentials is utterly confusing. In that regard I was pleasantly surprised by Vanderlinde's book.

By the way, talking about older books (that I have not read), what about Panofsky and Phillips? seems quite interesting.

https://itp.uni-frankfurt.de/~hees/pf-faq/srt.pdf

- #38

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You are right about that. We're talking of at least two levels of education:

OP, just start with Electricity & Magnetism by Purcell supplemented by A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations by Fleisch. If you don't like Purcell, then maybe try Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism by Arthur Kip.

- beginner in college/university level electromagnetism.

- intermediate/advanced level electromagnetism.

Beginner level > focuses on Maxwell's equations in vacuum and matter, electrostatics, magnetostatics, all treated with vector calculus and multivariable real calculus.

Medium/advanced > defines "electrodynamics", uses special relativity (including Minkowski spacetime notation) and all derivations from it.

People here always focus on the second part and provide recommendations for at least intermediate-level education.

- #39

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BTW: Some professors here in Frankfurt very successfully use a "relativity-first approach" at the "beginner level" (3rd semester undergrad theoretical-physics course lecture). I think in some respects the relativistic formulation is simpler than the 19th century (3+1) formulation. On the other hand for beginner the most difficult part simply is the use of vector calculus, and I don't know whether they can really appreciate the covariant 4D formalism at this stage.

- #40

Vanadium 50

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The first line in Griffiths - the very first line - is "This is a textbook on electricity and magnetism, designed for an undergraduate course at the junior or senior level".What's wrong with Griffiths for the "beginner level"?

If the author doesn't think it's intended for freshmen or sophomores, should we be recommending it?

- #41

Amrator

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And there's a reason why Purcell is often recommended; it's a pedagogically effective, beginner level (freshman or sophomore level) textbook. Griffiths, while also a great book, is not a beginner level textbook.

BTW: Some professors here in Frankfurt very successfully use a "relativity-first approach" at the "beginner level" (3rd semester undergrad theoretical-physics course lecture). I think in some respects the relativistic formulation is simpler than the 19th century (3+1) formulation. On the other hand for beginner the most difficult part simply is the use of vector calculus, and I don't know whether they can really appreciate the covariant 4D formalism at this stage.

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- #43

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If you just finished Kleppner & Kolenkow, but do not have the prerequisite vector calculus, then you should use an advanced introductory text like

Purcell is a common honors-level introductory electromagnetism text,

or an intermediate electromagnetism text.

Moore and Chabay&Sherwood are relatively new introductory calculus-based textbooks that

(in my opinion) try to develop a deeper understanding of concepts than is found in

typical introductory physics texts.

Griffiths is not an introductory electromagnetism textbook.

It assumes a prerequisite given by one of the above texts (or those comparable to them).

- Moore - http://www.physics.pomona.edu/sixideas/ Unit E. (Unit R deals with relativity.)
- Chabay & Sherwood - https://matterandinteractions.org/ (I'm not thrilled with how relativity is handled here... but geometrical and physical intuition and computation (using VPython/Glowscript) for vector calculus is good.)
- Purcell - Electricity and Magnetism
- (for mathematically-oriented students): Bamberg & Sternberg's A Course in Mathematics for Students of Physics, vols 1 and 2 ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/0521406498/?tag=pfamazon01-20 )

This book, with apologies for the pretentious title, represents the text of a course we have been teaching at Harvard for the past eight years. The course is aimed at students with an interest in physics who have a good grounding in one-variable calculus. Some prior acquaintance with linear algebra is helpful but not necessary. Most of the students simultaneously take an intensive course in physics and so are able to integrate the material learned here with their physics education. This also is helpful but not necessary. The main topics of the course are the theory and physical application of linear algebra, and of the calculus of several variables, particularly the exterior calculus.

Purcell is a common honors-level introductory electromagnetism text,

or an intermediate electromagnetism text.

Moore and Chabay&Sherwood are relatively new introductory calculus-based textbooks that

(in my opinion) try to develop a deeper understanding of concepts than is found in

typical introductory physics texts.

Griffiths is not an introductory electromagnetism textbook.

It assumes a prerequisite given by one of the above texts (or those comparable to them).

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- #44

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I'm not familiar with the subtleties of the American curriculum. I always thought Griffiths is one of the standard texts for the introductory theoretical E&M lecture. At least it fits the purpose for the German system very well (of course you can not cover all its contents in 1 introductory semester).The first line in Griffiths - the very first line - is "This is a textbook on electricity and magnetism, designed for an undergraduate course at the junior or senior level".

If the author doesn't think it's intended for freshmen or sophomores, should we be recommending it?

- #45

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- #46

jtbell

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This is the case in the US, except maybe at elite schools like MIT, Caltech, et al.

When do European students usually see physics at the level of H&R? Pre-undergraduate (which we call “high school”)?

- #47

andresB

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In my south American country, calling Halliday and Resnick pre-undergraduate feel strange. I use H&R (or equivalent books) for first year university physics. Though, first year university here is like final year high school in the US or UK.

- #48

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1st Semester: Mechanics and thermodynamics

2nd Semester: Electromagnetism

3rd Semester: (a) Optics (b) Atoms and Quanta

4th Semester: (a) Nucear and particle physics (b) Solid state physics

In theoretical physics a typical textbook series are the books by Greiner or Nolting

1st Semester: Mathematical methods (mostly with Newtonian mechanics)

2nd Semester: Analytical Mechanics (Lagrange, Hamilton, intro to relativity)

3rd Semester: Electromagnetism

4th Semester: Nonrelativistic quantum mechanics

5th Semester: Statistical physics

In addition you have also Mathematics for Physicists (3 semesters), the introductory and advanced labs (2+1 sem), and some minor subjects you can choose from both experimental and theoretical physics.

In the 6th semester you have to do some research and write a BSc thesis.

Then there's a 2years MSc, consisting of more special lectures in experimental and/or theoretical physics of your choice, some lab work and finally a more advanced research work towards your MSc thesis. At our university you can also choose an MSc with more focus on computational physics, where you get more IT and numerical math and also write your thesis about such topics.

- #49

andresB

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1st Semester: Mechanics and thermodynamics

2nd Semester: Electromagnetism

3rd Semester: (a) Optics (b) Atoms and Quanta

4th Semester: (a) Nucear and particle physics (b) Solid state physics

In theoretical physics a typical textbook series are the books by Greiner or Nolting

1st Semester: Mathematical methods (mostly with Newtonian mechanics)

2nd Semester: Analytical Mechanics (Lagrange, Hamilton, intro to relativity)

3rd Semester: Electromagnetism

4th Semester: Nonrelativistic quantum mechanics

5th Semester: Statistical physics

In addition you have also Mathematics for Physicists (3 semesters), the introductory and advanced labs (2+1 sem), and some minor subjects you can choose from both experimental and theoretical physics.

In the 6th semester you have to do some research and write a BSc thesis.

I...have no words, I don't understand many things in that list, how do you condense so much material in 3 years?

For comparison the theoretical component was something like

1. Newtonian mechanics (Alonso & Finn), differential calculus.

2. Oscillations and (linear) waves (French, I think), integral calculus, probability, linear algebra.

3. Electromagnetism (Alonso & Finn II), Vector calculus, (ordinary) differential equations

4. Optics (Hecht), Mechanics (Marion), Complex variables, computational methods.

5. Modern physics (Alonso & Finn 3), Analytical mechanics (Goldstein), Mathematical physics (Arfken), electromagnetic theory I (Griffiths or Mildford)

6. QM I (Griffiths), electromagnetic theory II (Sadiku, why? I don't know), Mathematical physics II (Arfken)

7. QM II (Cohen-Tannoudji), Thermodynamics, special relativity

8. Statistical physics.

9. Solid state physics.

10. Write your Bcs thesis.

I also took, as electives, particle physics (griffiths) and Intro to general relativity (Weinberg).

I suppose that list would be unfathomable for most people around the world.

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- #50

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But that looks not different from the German standard curriculum, I quoted above.

- #51

andresB

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Your curriculum has 6 semesters, ours have 10. Granted, I guess our 1st year in university is like the final year in the US and European high schools, but still.But that looks not different from the German standard curriculum, I quoted above.

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