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Electricity and magnetism books

  1. Aug 24, 2013 #1
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2013 #2
    Well, let me give you the most unoriginal recommendations ever (although the best, to my knowledge).

    Griffiths - Introduction to Electrodynamics
    Purcell - Electricity and Magnetism

    Read the reviews in the PF text book section.
  4. Aug 24, 2013 #3


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    I notice that your book is for algebra/trig based physics. Have you learned calculus yet?
  5. Aug 24, 2013 #4
    Sorry I posted the wrong one. There is a calc. version of the book that I posted. I've been through multi var. calc.

    So please post calculus based physics books
  6. Aug 24, 2013 #5
    I am currently reading from Electricity and Magnetism by Purcell. It's much more informative than my school text book but I'm finding it to easy. I want something more indepth in theory.
  7. Aug 24, 2013 #6
    I just deleted my long post since I saw this one. If you have all these, my suggestion is https://www.amazon.com/Electromagnetics-Engineers-Fawwaz-T-Ulaby/dp/0131497243/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377381806&sr=1-4&keywords=ulaby

    This is the simplest and a very good book about electromagnetics. Griffiths is a very good book, but it is for physics major and is quite difficult for self study. Ulaby is an engineering electromagnetic text book used by San Jose State for their EM class for EE. This is my first book when I self studied EM.

    Don't be fool when I said it's the easiest book, there is no easy electromagnetics!!! It is just not as hard as Griffiths and https://www.amazon.com/Field-Wave-Electromagnetics-David-Cheng/dp/0201128195/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377382136&sr=1-1&keywords=david+cheng.
  8. Aug 24, 2013 #7
    Although I myself have never looked at Purcell in depth, from the information I gather, Purcell is not an easy text. I'm guessing you haven't been through any of the exercises, are you skipping them?!
  9. Aug 24, 2013 #8
    Yes I am skipping the exercises. I'm just reading the book to gain a better understanding of the concepts and theory.

    To be honest, I don't have the time to devote to both reading the book and doing the problems because I have higher priorities in the classes that I'm enrolled into. I am not actually enrolled into the physics class I'm just trying to gain a better understanding when I have the time.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  10. Aug 24, 2013 #9
    But.... the exercises are there for that reason exactly....
  11. Aug 24, 2013 #10
    Purcell is quite easy than Griffiths and so on Griffiths is easier than Jackson.

    Suggestion for OP, do Mary L Boas Mathematical Methods books along with Purcell and don't skip any problems if you are skipping. Purcell is Lower Undergrad book while Griffiths is upper undergrad.
  12. Aug 24, 2013 #11
  13. Aug 24, 2013 #12


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    You're joking right? Griffiths is a joke compared to Purcell. The exercises in Griffiths are trivial in comparison. Clearly Jackson is harder, it's one of the most notorious first year graduate texts out there.

    OP, if you aren't doing the exercises, then every physics book that isn't solely a reference book is completely and utterly useless.
  14. Aug 24, 2013 #13
    Ok I'll do the problems. The book by jackson is one of the best in your opinion? Where can I find it?
  15. Aug 24, 2013 #14
    I second Astrums Griffiths suggestion. JD Jackson will kick your butt (in a good way). They are referencing Classical Electrodynamics By John David Jackson. You can find it on amazon.
  16. Aug 24, 2013 #15
  17. Aug 24, 2013 #16


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    Not in my opinion no, I personally dislike the book (it does a lot of mathematics but in a completely non-rigorous way which I personally hate) but if you like it and find it of use then go for it. I personally think Griffiths and/or Purcell would be more useful if you think your current book or books like Halliday and Resnick are too easy for you.
  18. Aug 24, 2013 #17
    Yes it is. Be forewarned (although I cant speak from experience, since I have not worked from it ..yet. But I do own Griffiths) As wannabenewton says it has a reputation for being very difficult.
  19. Aug 24, 2013 #18
    My suggestion was based on my university curriculum. I am in 2 semester Mechanical Engineering and recommended text is Purcell with Mary L Boas mathematical Methods while my seniors of 5th Semester are have recommendation of Griffiths with Courant and Hilber Mathematical Physics. and clearly Jackson is recommended in Graduate Studies.

    So I have rated
    Purcell < Griffiths < Jackson
  20. Aug 25, 2013 #19
    I am very confused, your first post want something more than the algebra based physics book, now you talk about JD Jackson?!!! This is a very difficult book used in graduate program. I think you better tell people where you are at, what year are you in. You completed ODE and PDE yet? Jumping from an algebra based physics to any of the EM books is a huge jump, a very huge jump. Even going to Ulaby is a huge jump already. I studied PDE and Green's function, I still have a hell of a time reading Jackson.

    I did suggested Field and Wave by David Cheng. It is a very good book, more difficult than Ulaby. I know a lot of colleges using this book. For undergrad, if you can study and work through the problems of Griffiths and Cheng, you should be very strong in EM. Engineering EM book like Ulaby and Cheng are quite different from physics base book like Griffiths. Engineering EM books put a lot more stress in wave propagation, transmission lines. Griffiths has a lot more in the materials, and explanation of the Maxwell's formulas. Another way to look at it is Griffiths is strong in the first 6 to 7 chapters and lighter on propagation and none in transmission lines and almost none in cavity. That's where Cheng pick up on the last few chapters.

    I have Ulaby, Cheng and Griffiths, they are all excellent books, I study all three and work through a lot of the problems. Until you work on the problems, you cannot judge how much you know and understand. I use Ulaby to get my feet wet. Then studied Cheng pretty from cover to cover. I still don't feel quite comfortable. Finally studied Griffiths, I feel more more comfortable in this subject...........That is...........until I start studying Antenna theory!!:eek: Now back to more calculus, PDE, Green's function, polarization and all the good stuffs. Now I have no choice to peek into Jackson.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  21. Aug 25, 2013 #20
    Griffiths is quite easy to read, but the problems are something else. I worked through the problems in chapter 10 and 11, that was something. You definitely get very good in vector calculus after that.

    BTW, by easy to read, I meant Griffiths explained the basics in very detail, you take the time, you'll understand the topics. The down fall of a lot of engineering EM books is they try to make it simple in the first few chapters and try to jump to the EM wave propagation and transmission lines where they are important for EE. Too short and simplified way to explain at the beginning turn out to be harder to understand and hard to follow. When I pickup Griffiths and read the first few chapters, it's like a light bulb lighted up in my head. That's the reason I always said people need to study Griffiths and one of the EE EM books to get the complete picture.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  22. Aug 25, 2013 #21
    I've taken ODE, Linear algebra, differential/integral/multi var calculus and calculus based physics.
    I added an attachment of the book I am currently reading. I personally don't like the book.

    Attached Files:

  23. Aug 25, 2013 #22
    I can't open the attachment for what ever reason. If you taken ODE and multi variables, you should be ready for the three EM book I was talking about.

    Are you enroll in a college or are you studying on your own for the interest? If you study on your own, with the math you have, I think you can jump into Cheng and Griffiths. It will not be a cake walk, but you'll manage. I would strongly recommend you to have both if not more if you self study. I have more than 8 books just on this subject. Not every book explains everything good, they all have strong and weak points. Since I can't open your attachment, this is my best guess.
  24. Aug 25, 2013 #23
    The book that I added in the attachment is called electricity and magnetism berklely physics course - volume 2 by Edward M. Purcell.

    And to be honest through out my two years of college I have successfully passed my classes with all A's on my own. I have never once taken a note in any of my classes other than from two math teachers who I actually respected. But other than that all my classes I have taught my self.
    And I have already taken the class on magnetism and electriciy at my school last semester which I passed with self study. This semester I am taking my first semester of circuits and I would like to have a better understanding about electricity and magnetism because I know I will be able to gain a better understanding in my circuits class if I do.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  25. Aug 25, 2013 #24
    If you studied this book, you should be ready for Cheng and Griffiths. This seems to be like an introduction to electromagnetics.
  26. Aug 25, 2013 #25
    Honestly I haven't truelly studied the book. I've only read a few chapters and I can tell the book is not what I am looking for. I am looking for a book that explains the concepts and theory with mathematical proofs to back the claims they are making.
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