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Electromagnetism Studies

  1. Aug 31, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    Just got a quick question regarding textbooks revolving around electromagnetism studies. I'm a Mechanical Engineering major and I have a firm grasp on pretty much all classical mechanics and have begun exploring some quantum studies for personal pleasure. I've found however that I am extremely weak in my application of electromagnetism, even with basic things like circuits and E/M fields. Could I get some textbooks surrounding these topics? I've seen Griffin's Electrodynamics mentioned around the forum quite a bit but I'm not sure if its the right tree to be barking up yet. Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2012 #2
    For introductory electromagnetism, I'd suggest "Fundamentals of Physics" by Halliday, Resnick and Walker. There are a large variety of editions and volumes for this particular text. The one linked below is the full edition, but you may be able to find a volume that only contains Chapters 22-33 (Part 3), which cover the basics of E&M.


    For upper-class undergraduate study, I recommend reading "Engineering Electromagnetics," by Hayt and Buck. Reading this book from cover-to-cover and working the problems should sufficiently prepare you for Griffith's Intro. to Electrodynamics.


    Also, I've read that "Engineering Electromagnetics" by Nathan Ida is very very good (although I haven't had the pleasure of reading it).


    For a quick/supplementary read, you may want to try "A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations" by Fleisch.


    Above all else, I recommend reading the "Feynman Lectures" Volume II. It won't give you any examples to work through, but it delineates the material in a clear-concise and thought-provoking way.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Sep 1, 2012 #3
    Thanks for all the suggestions!
  5. Sep 1, 2012 #4
    If you truly have "a firm grasp on pretty much all classical mechanics" (I assume that means you're in your senior year or just graduated) then I would say go straight to Griffiths. Griffiths is the standard for upper-level physics majors whereas the "Engineering Electromagnetic" texts mentioned above is meant for upper-level electrical engineering majors.

    The difference is that the engineering texts tend to abbreviate/skip "more physicsy" material like charged-particle dynamics, energy/momentum transfer, boundary-value problems with special functions, special relativity, etc. The engineering texts will even intuit some things instead of mathematically proving them (e.g. not using delta functions to prove the divergence of a point charge).

    What's nice about the engineering texts is that they will usually give an introduction to antennas and spend some time on transmission line theory. If you care about such things, then I would start with Griffiths and supplement it with one of the engineering texts. It's also good to know that Griffiths is probably one of the best textbook authors out there in terms of ability to explain complicated material.

    The Feynman lectures are a good read for all of basic physics, but I think that it's a more suitable read only after you know the material. You learn the material first, then you read Feynman to see what the physics really means.
  6. Sep 1, 2012 #5
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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