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Electromagnetic fields and Maxwell's equations

  1. Jan 28, 2012 #1
    Basically I couldn't understand Maxwell's equations during my college days mainly because I didn't understand divergence and curl intuitively.
    I need some good book on Electromagnetic Fields (such as Gauss Laws and so on) and also I want to learn about Maxwell's equations. I want to understand them intuitively and in depth.
    So please mention me the name of the book with the author.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2012 #2

    Filip Larsen

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  4. Jan 28, 2012 #3


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    Welcome to PF!
    BTW, please don't double post. This is the proper forum for questions about texts.

    You say you want to "understand Maxwell's equations intuitively and in depth." You might not want to hear this, but you must master vector calculus first--there is no other way.

    Start with a vector calc book. I learned many years ago from Thomas, Calculus and Analytic Geometry, and remember liking the book. I expect you could save some money by buying an older edition (calculus hasn't changed much in the last 50 or so years). If you don't like Thomas, choose another one, there are dozens. Don't move on to E&M books until you can work the problems and show mastery of the subject.

    When it's time to move on, you'll find that every E&M text has a quick review of vector calc. The material should be familiar to you at this point. There are many good intro E&M texts. Griffith, Introduction to Electrodynamics, is the standard undergrad text at most US colleges. I haven't used it but it is supposed to be excellent. Reitz and Milford is a traditional, no-nonsense text. Purcell's E&M (vol. 2 of the Berkeley Physics Series) is excellent and is written by a Nobel prize winner with a deep appreciation of the subject. (Being old, it uses CGS units.)

    A slightly more advanced undergrad text that you can use afterwards is Schwartz, Principles of Electrodynamics. He explicitly writes out every component of divergence and curl, shows you Gauss's law in detail, etc. As a bonus, Mel Schwartz was another physicist (and another Nobel laureate) of extraordinary insight, and his book emphasizes the beauty and unity of electricity and magnetism (they are tied by special relativity) right from the first pages. The Dover reprint is inexpensive.
    Finally, a search on Amazon showed this book, which readers seem to like very much
    I have no experience with it.

    Good luck!
  5. Jan 28, 2012 #4
    I have a question: according to faraday's law at some point in space changing magnetic field
    with time creates the curl of electric field at that point and according
    to Ampere's law with Maxwell's correction changing with time electric
    field or electric current density creates the rotor of magnetic field.
    So those created fields are circular, so it means that they should have no
    beginning, so if electric field vector changing with time at some point
    created circular magnetic field at that point, this magnetic field (that
    was created) should be zero (or infinity, I'm not sure, but the field is
    not defined) at origin point and exist only around it. The same is if
    magnetic field induces electric. So if the created circular field is zero
    at origin point and exists only aroud that point, it means that both
    electric and magnetic field don't exist at the same point at the same
    time. So how is with electrmagnetic waves when one field creates another
    and they both exist at the same point in space, the graphs of functions (
    Eosin(wt+kx) and Bosin(wt+kx) ) show that, because they exist at every
    point ?
  6. Jan 28, 2012 #5

    Sorry. I will not post more than once from now onwards. In the other post a guy is recommending "The Feynman Lectures on Physics". Since it is written by R.P.Feynman I believe it would be nice. What do you think?
  7. Jan 28, 2012 #6
  8. Jan 28, 2012 #7

    George Jones

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  9. Jan 28, 2012 #8


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    I think you need to master vector calculus first.
  10. Jan 28, 2012 #9


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  11. Jan 28, 2012 #10


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    Div, grad, curl and all that by Schey
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