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Electromagnetism: Dugdale vs Griffiths

  1. Nov 27, 2011 #1
    I need to self-teach myself electromagnetism, and both of these books have been recommended to me.

    Essentials of Electromagnetism, by Dugdale https://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Electromagnetism-MacMillan-Physical-ebook/dp/B000PY3WG0
    Introduction to Electrodynamics, by Griffiiths https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Electrodynamics-3rd-David-Griffiths/dp/013805326X

    I need to learn the material quickly, but well enough to be able to take the Physics GRE. Would you recommend one above the other? Why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2


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    To the extent possible, one may wish to compare contents. Dugdale's book can be viewed at Google books, while some contents of Griffiths can be viewed at Amazon.

    Griffiths's book is slightly more modern, but both seem comparable.

    Dugdale, Essentials of Electromagnetism (1993)
    http://www.springer.com/physics/opt...-0?cm_mmc=Google-_-Book Search-_-Springer-_-0

    Partial Contents:
    1. Introduction and basic facts. Action at a distance and field theory. Mathematical language of field theory illustrated by reference to hydrodynamics, electromagnetism, and gravitation.
    2. Maxwell's field equations in vacuum and the Lorentz force. The physical content of the four field equations and their embodiment of the empirical laws of Coulomb, Gauss, Ampere, and Faraday.
    3. The separation of E and B fields under static conditions. The conservative nature of electrostatic fields and the formal equivalence with Newtonian gravitational field equations.
    4. Magnetostatic field equations. The Biot-Savart law as a general solution. Applications to straight wires, loops, and coils. Magnetic dipoles and equivalent magnetic shells.
    5. Time dependent fields at high frequency and electromagnetic radiation. The absolute nature of the speed of light and the conflict with classical mechanics.
    6. Material media. Conductors, dielectrics, and magnetic materials. The atomic nature of polarization and magnetization and their phenomenological description by spatially and temporally averaged fields.

    View contents on Google

    D. J. Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, 3rd Ed (1999)

    For junior/senior-level electricity and magnetism courses. This book is known for its clear, concise and accessible coverage of standard topics in a logical and pedagogically sound order. The Third Edition features a clear, accessible treatment of the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory, providing a sound platform for the exploration of related applications (ac circuits, antennas, transmission lines, plasmas, optics, etc.). Its lean and focused approach employs numerous examples and problems.

    1. Vector Analysis.
    Vector Algebra. Differential Calculus. Integral Calculus. Curvilinear Coordinates. The Dirac Delta Function. The Theory of Vector Fields.

    2. Electrostatics.
    The Electrostatic Field. Divergence and Curl of Electrostatic Fields. Electric Potential. Work and Energy in Electrostatics. Conductors.

    3. Special Techniques.
    Laplace's Equation and Uniqueness Theorems. The Method of Images. Separation of Variables. Multipole Expansion.

    4. Electrostatic Fields in Matter.
    Polarization. The Field of a Polarized Object. The Electric Displacement. Linear Dielectrics.

    5. Magnetostatics.
    The Lorentz Force Law. The Biot-Savart Law. The Divergence and Curl of B. Magnetic Vector Potential.

    6. Magnetic Fields in Matter.
    Magnetization. The Field of a Magnetized Object. The Auxiliary Field H. Linear and Nonlinear Media.

    7. Electrodynamics.
    Electromotive Force. Electromagnetic Induction. Maxwell's Equations.

    8. Conservation Laws.
    Charge and Energy. Momentum.

    9. Electromagnetic Waves.
    Waves in One Dimension. Electromagnetic Waves in Vacuum. Electromagnetic Waves in Matter. Absorption and Dispersion. Guided Waves.

    10. Potentials and Fields.
    The Potential Formulation. Continuous Distributions. Point Charges.

    11. Radiation.
    Dipole Radiation. Point Charges.

    12. Electrodynamics and Relativity.
    The Special Theory of Relativity. Relativistic Mechanics. Relativistic Electrodynamics.

    Appendix A: Vector Calculus in Curvilinear Coordinates.

    Appendix B: The Helmholtz Theorem.
  4. Nov 27, 2011 #3


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    Griffiths is more advanced, but the reason I like Dugdale is he starts from Maxwell's equations, so you always have the big picture from the start. Griffiths goes the historical route and builds up to Maxwell's equations. However both are good, and you can't go wrong if you chose randomly. So you could certainly just pick on the basis of what's available in your library.
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