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Good resource to teach myself E&M

  1. Nov 3, 2006 #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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  3. Nov 3, 2006 #2

    quasar987

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    The best intro book is INTRODUCTION to ELECTRODYNAMICS by Griffiths.
     
  4. Nov 3, 2006 #3
    It is best to have many books on the same subject.
     
  5. Nov 3, 2006 #4

    Galileo

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    Get Griffiths' EM book. It's awesome.
     
  6. Nov 3, 2006 #5

    jtbell

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    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?
     
  7. Nov 3, 2006 #6
    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.
     
  8. Nov 3, 2006 #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.
     
  9. Nov 4, 2006 #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. :)
     
  10. Nov 4, 2006 #9

    quasar987

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    Just try Griffiths, you'll see. :!!)
     
  11. Nov 4, 2006 #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.
     
  12. Nov 4, 2006 #11

    jtbell

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    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.
     
  13. Nov 6, 2006 #12

    vanesch

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