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Free edition of Purcell, Electricity and Magnetism

  1. Dec 8, 2013 #1

    bcrowell

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    Thirty years after learning E&M from the wonderful book by Purcell, I noticed that the copyright page of my dog-eared copy of the 1965 edition includes a notice stating that it is available for use by authors and publishers on a royalty-free basis after 1970. The book has gone through two more editions since then, with many improvements. The third edition, by Purcell and Morin, is in print as of 2013. The third edition is great. It includes SI units, new applications, and new problems. I happily bought a copy as soon as it came out. However, I want to produce a nice, free, LaTeX-ed version of the 1965 edition to make this fantastic book available to students who don't have the money for a copy of the commercial version. Once it's in LaTeX format it can continue to be worked on and improved, in parallel with the commercial edition. (Once it's complete, the first thing I intend to do is redo the whole thing in SI units.)

    The project I've started up is here: http://www.lightandmatter.com/purcell/ [Broken] . There is a github page with the source code. To be polite, I've contacted the publisher and let them know what was up. They seemed a little nonplussed but didn't express any objections. I've offered my students small amounts of extra credit to help with the conversion to LaTeX, but frankly they're rather inefficient at it, and they don't save me much time relative to the time it would have taken to convert n pages myself. I've gotten some pretty good OCR output (which is included in a file on the github site), so it's not really a question of typing in the English text. The main work that needs to be done is just the conversion of the math, which requires both some knowledge of the subject and at least minimal facility with LaTeX.

    If anyone here would like to contribute to this project, even by doing the math for a single page, that would be much appreciated. A pdf of the original book is available (legally, based on the license!) at a link from the project's web page.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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  3. Dec 11, 2013 #2

    vanhees71

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    Don't do the SI units! It's a pest spreading rapidly these days. Even the great Jackson is spoiled by this. Only in the chapters on the relativistic covariant treatment (which anyway is the best one to start with in the 21st century if you ask me), he goes back to good old CGS units. I'd prefer rationalized Gauss units (Heaviside-Lorentz) as used in HEP.
     
  4. Dec 11, 2013 #3

    DrDu

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    I wholeheartedly agree. I would also propose to to for Heaviside-Lorentz.
     
  5. Feb 24, 2014 #4

    bcrowell

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    Thanks for your comments. I currently plan to do a complete clone of the 1965 edition, with minimal changes, and only then produce a "fork" that suits my own preferences and biases, including SI units. So you'll have a version with cgs.

    At this point I've finished converting the main body of the text (but not the problems), including all the math. I'm now going back through and adding the figures, trying to produce decent looking line art rather than simply pasting in the scans from the printed book, which would look horrible both on the screen and in print. I've done reasonable-looking versions of the figures through ch. 2. A couple of people have recently emailed me about errata, which is great.
     
  6. Mar 8, 2014 #5

    UltrafastPED

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    I would prefer SI for an undergraduate text - save the "theoretician's favorite space saving" systems for the graduate level texts. I guarantee that most undergrads and all engineers will appreciate the SI units!


    PS: for antiquarians you can also provide tables to show how to convert between the various systems.
     
  7. Mar 8, 2014 #6

    Redbelly98

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    We can do away with SI units only after multimeters are readily available that measure in statvolts, statcoulombs per second, and seconds per centimeter (for resistance). :biggrin:

    That being said, the Purcell book is excellent and this endeavor could be a great service to people learning physics.

    Ben, the link appears to be broken.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Apr 6, 2015 #7

    bcrowell

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    The project is now on github: https://github.com/bcrowell/purcell . The text is all converted. I took down the web page on my web site. As explained on the github page, it turned out that the legal situation was more cloudy than I'd believed.
     
  9. Feb 12, 2017 #8
    Which programs do I need to make the book? I have already installed Inkscape but I still get some errors when entering the make book command.
     
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