Electrodynamics Recommendations

  • #1
FuzzySphere
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I'm currently studying quantum mechanics from MIT opencourseware, just about to finish 8.05, quantum physics 2. I have little knowledge of electrodynamics, but I want to learn enough to be comfortable studying quantum electrodynamics in the future. My math background is pretty strong, so I've studied things like differential geometry, complex analysis, abstract algebra, etc. I have found the book by Franklin, Classical Electromagnetism, which seems to be pretty good, and the author has a companion problem book that also seems good. Do you guys have any other recommendations of books (readable ones, so not Jackson under any circumstance), lecture notes, or video lectures that would be good for someone in my situation? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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What do you find not "readable" in Jackson?
 
  • #3
FuzzySphere
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What do you find not "readable" in Jackson?
I haven't read it and don't intend to because it has a reputation of being a pedagogical nightmare and I'm not going to waste my money on something like that.
 
  • #4
hutchphd
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Jackson is a good book but difficult sometimes
Griffiths is less comprehensive but still a good book and much easier
The recent book by Robert Wald is a useful addition to the library (and pretty cheap)
Feynmans Lectures are always good
Walter Lewin lectures on Youtube
What does the OpenCourseware use foe electrodynamics?
 
  • #5
FuzzySphere
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Jackson is a good book but difficult sometimes
Griffiths is less comprehensive but still a good book and much easier
The recent book by Robert Wald is a useful addition to the library (and pretty cheap)
Feynmans Lectures are always good
Walter Lewin lectures on Youtube
What does the OpenCourseware use foe electrodynamics?
From what I just gathered, undergrad E&M uses Griffiths, graduate uses Jackson, Landau & Lifshitz, and Schwinger. I've heard bad things about Feynman, particularly that I won't learn to solve any problems. Is Feynman together with a problem book a good strategy?
 
  • #6
hutchphd
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Not knowing your skills I am unable to advise you specifically
Also they are all about basically the same stuff and often it is useful to pick and choose as you go. Feynman is free online so it is always availible. I guess I would start with Griffiths as my basis and be sure I knew it well. Expand from there at your whim.
 
  • #7
FuzzySphere
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Not knowing your skills I am unable to advise you specifically
Also they are all about basically the same stuff and often it is useful to pick and choose as you go. Feynman is free online so it is always availible. I guess I would start with Griffiths as my basis and be sure I knew it well. Expand from there at your whim.
Thanks for the advice! Have a great day!
 
  • #8
Vanadium 50
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If you have specific objections to a given book, we can point you in another direction. If you refuse to look at a book because of rumor an innuendo, its hard to help you. That's essentially "pick a book that other people will like". Hard to do that.
 
  • #9
FuzzySphere
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If you have specific objections to a given book, we can point you in another direction. If you refuse to look at a book because of rumor an innuendo, its hard to help you. That's essentially "pick a book that other people will like". Hard to do that.
Look, I'm not trying to spend $90+ on a book that can hardly be read. I've heard terrible things about that book, which doesn't make me too keen on using it to learn a subject that I'm already struggling to learn. I am asking to recommend a book that people generally like and can generally learn from, and it isn't too hard to do that, simply do a google search for readable books on the subject. And yes, I know that opinions may vary on a particular book, who knows, I may someday pick up Jackson and enjoy it, but I don't want to take the risk when all around me I hear how hard it is to learn from the book. I'm looking for books that will teach me the subject, in a way that is understandable and enjoyable, Jackson does not fall into that category, according to the majority of opinions I've heard.
 
  • #10
Vanadium 50
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Look, do whatever you want. You will get out of this what you put into it. Thus far, I don't think you are on a path leading to the outcome you desire.
 
  • #11
andresB
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I can sympathize with not wanting to read Jackson.

Griffiths for a first reading, Vanderlinde for a second reading, Zangwill instead of Jackson.

*All recommendations are made without knowing the prices of the books.
 
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  • #12
robphy
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If quantum electrodynamics is a goal,
then Griffiths for electrodynamics might be a good choice:
You might also consider the texts by Greiner
https://www.amazon.com/dp/3527406018/?tag=pfamazon01-20


Possible alternative to buying a book:
https://www.worldcat.org/search?q=au:JACKSON,+JOHN+DAVID.&qt=hot_author
https://www.worldcat.org/search?q=a...ook+x4:printbook))+>+s0:60000000&qt=facet_s0:
 
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  • #13
vanhees71
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I haven't read it and don't intend to because it has a reputation of being a pedagogical nightmare and I'm not going to waste my money on something like that.
Well, that's very unjustified. The "problem" with Jackson might be that it so detailed that the beginner gets lost in that much details. On the other hand it's very thoroughly written, i.e., it explains everything in a very concise form, including the necessary mathematics like vector calculus, special functions, multipole expansion, etc. Another drawback is that it's bringing the relativistic point of view rather late. With that caveat, I'd rather say Jackson still is among the best treatments of classical electrodynamics ever written.

My favorite on "fundamental classical E&M" is Landau and Lifshitz vol. 2, which starts right away with the relativistic description, which is the natural one for electrodynamics of course.
 
  • #14
robphy
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Slightly off-topic involving Jackson's textbook:
When I was a new grad student at Syracuse, I heard a story passed down by more senior grad students.
I am not sure if all of these details below are true... maybe it's part of the folklore.

When Christodoulou ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demetrios_Christodoulou ) was on the faculty,
some students handed him Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics to see what he thought of it.
He supposedly flipped through it and handed it back to them.
Possibly unimpressed, he said that it was trivial
because all of the differential equations were linear.
 
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  • #15
ergospherical
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  • #16
FuzzySphere
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Thanks everyone for the recommendations. I think I might go with Feynman, supplemented by Franklin's Classical Electromagnetism or Fulvio Melia's Electrodynamics, as both seem pretty good.
 
  • #17
FuzzySphere
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Look, do whatever you want. You will get out of this what you put into it. Thus far, I don't think you are on a path leading to the outcome you desire.
Thank you for your recommendation. The outcome I desire is to learn and enjoy the physics that interests me, and I don't think you have enough information to judge whether I'll reach those goals or not. Whether the specific goal is QED, the classical theory of radiation, etc, I intend to learn these things and enjoy learning about them. Jackson's book has a bad reputation among students, for this reason I don't want to try my hand at it. I understand you like the book, and I thank you for recommending me a book that you think is good. Have a great day!
 
  • #18
hutchphd
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Your choice of material here is both wildly inappropriate and hilarious. My congratulations.

/
 
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  • #19
vanhees71
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Thank you for your recommendation. The outcome I desire is to learn and enjoy the physics that interests me, and I don't think you have enough information to judge whether I'll reach those goals or not. Whether the specific goal is QED, the classical theory of radiation, etc, I intend to learn these things and enjoy learning about them. Jackson's book has a bad reputation among students, for this reason I don't want to try my hand at it. I understand you like the book, and I thank you for recommending me a book that you think is good. Have a great day!
If your final goal is QED, then read Landau&Lifshitz vol. 2.
 
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  • #20
FuzzySphere
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If your final goal is QED, then read Landau&Lifshitz vol. 2.
Thanks for the recommendation!
 
  • #22
FuzzySphere
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Franklin is a fine book. If you find that it presupposes too much knowledge you might look at Griffiths (as mentioned above) or Schwartz https://www.amazon.com/dp/0486654931/?tag=pfamazon01-20
Thanks for the recommendation. I found Schwartz to be a little difficult to understand, particularly the section on capacitance, but I haven't read much beyond that to be honest.
 

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