Good resource to teach myself E&M

In summary, the conversation revolves around the topic of studying for and testing out of a school's Electricity and Optics class. The recommended book is INTRODUCTION to ELECTRODYNAMICS by Griffiths, but it is also suggested to have multiple books on the subject. Other recommended books include Hecht for optics and Nayfeh and Brussel for upper-division courses. It is mentioned that the Tipler Mosca series, which is recommended by the school, is considered to be a poor choice. The conversation also touches on the level and prerequisites of the course, as well as the importance of finding a book that is easy to learn from. Overall, the conversation provides various recommendations and insights on how to best prepare for the test
  • #1
stinlin
72
1
I'm looking to test out of my schools Electricity and Optics class (so E&M with optics really). I was wondering what a good book would be to be able to teach myself this topic well. I'm interested in it, so I'm not just going for the whole "take the test, be done with it" sort of thing. I want to learn it, but I'm interested in learning it myself. Not to mention, doing it this way opens up my schedule quite a bit and helps get me on track from switching majors...

Thanks in advance!
 
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  • #2
The best intro book is INTRODUCTION to ELECTRODYNAMICS by Griffiths.
 
  • #3
It is best to have many books on the same subject.
 
  • #4
Get Griffiths' EM book. It's awesome.
 
  • #5
stinlin said:
I'm looking to test out of my schools Electricity and Optics class (so E&M with optics really).

At what level is this course? Is it part of an introductory calculus-level physics sequence, or is it an intermediate-level course that has the introductory sequence as prerequisite?

If it's an intermediate-level course, then I also suggest Griffiths for the E&M material. For optics, I suggest Hecht. It probably has far more material than you really need, but it's a good read, with lots of discussion-type material and lots of pictures and diagrams.

Doesn't your school's course use a textbook? If it does, which one?
 
  • #6
Galileo said:
Get Griffiths' EM book. It's awesome.

I wouldn't say awesome, but it's most definitely the standard middle-range E&M book. For say an introduction to E&M for physics majors, use Purcell's book.
 
  • #7
Is this a lower-division course or an upper-division course? A physics course, or an engineering course?

This is not a subject where I'd skip the opportunity to take a course, unless you knew it was a poor course to begin with.

In any case, for an upper-division course I'll recommend Nayfeh and Brussel, Electricity and Magnetism, again because of the hundreds of worked examples, at least for the strictly E&M part.
 
  • #8
Awesome replies!

The course is really an introduction class. Kind of...The only course description available is:

Electrostatics, current electricity, electromagnetism, magnetic properties of matter. Electromagnetic waves, geometrical and physical optics.

It's only pre-requisite is our basic mechanics course that all engineers take. The book our school recommends is TERRIBLE. It was part of the series that we used for mechanics. Thankfully I'd had 2 years of advanced physics before coming to Purdue because that class is taught SO terribly. The book we use is Tipler Mosca series.

I'll look into the books you all posted. Are they easy to learn from? That's my biggest thing - readability. :)
 
  • #9
Just try Griffiths, you'll see. :!)
 
  • #10
Is it this book?

Look for Halliday & Resnick, Physics, Part2, 3rd ed. in the library.

Then there's Purcell, which is a classic, but I don't remember much about it.
 
  • #11
stinlin said:
The course is really an introduction class.

Yes, it looks like second semester of calculus-based General Physics to me. In that case, Griffiths etc. are overkill for your purpose, which is to prep yourself to test out of that course. With intermediate and upper-level textbooks, even if you can follow the material, you'll spend a lot of time on stuff that you're not going to be tested on.

If you don't want to use the book that book your course actually uses, as your main source for studying, get something at a similar level, like Halliday, Resnick and whoever (I can never remember which version is associated with Krane and which one with Walker...). You should still look at Tipler/Mosca, because your test will probably be based on that book.
 
  • #12
My favorite EM book is Lorrain, Lorrain and Corson:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0716718235/?tag=pfamazon01-20

It is less well known than Griffiths but I find it extremely clear, well-structured (in small chapters, one "lecture" each), rigorous and not too fancy. Nice problem set too. The nice thing about it is that you can pick out the pieces that you're interested in.
 

Related to Good resource to teach myself E&M

1. What is the best resource to learn E&M?

The best resource to learn E&M is subjective and depends on the individual's learning style. Some popular resources include textbooks such as "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by David J. Griffiths and online courses such as those offered by Khan Academy and MIT OpenCourseWare.

2. Are there any free resources to learn E&M?

Yes, there are many free resources available to learn E&M. MOOC platforms like Coursera and edX offer free online courses on E&M, and there are many educational YouTube channels and websites that provide free tutorials and lectures on the subject.

3. How long does it take to learn E&M?

The time it takes to learn E&M varies depending on an individual's prior knowledge and dedication to studying. Some may be able to grasp the basics in a few weeks, while others may take months. It also depends on the depth of understanding required for a specific application of E&M.

4. What are some important topics to focus on when learning E&M?

Some essential topics to focus on when learning E&M include Coulomb's Law, Gauss's Law, electric potential, capacitance, electric fields, magnetic fields, and electromagnetic waves. It is also crucial to understand the mathematical concepts and equations used in E&M.

5. How can I practice and apply my knowledge of E&M?

Practicing problems and solving exercises is the best way to apply and solidify your understanding of E&M. Many textbooks and online resources offer practice problems and quizzes. You can also try applying your knowledge to real-world scenarios, such as understanding how electric circuits work or the principles behind everyday devices like motors and generators.

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