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Classical Good self study book for Electricity and Magnetism

  1. May 6, 2016 #1
    Hi people!

    I am a high school rising senior who is looking to self study electricity and magnetism over the summer. Particularly, my aim is to take the ap physics c electricity and magnetism exam as a result of this self study but also to realize if I want to work with hardware/electrical engineering when I go to college.

    Could anyone please advise a book for me, please?

    I need a book that has the following:
    - Great simple explanations
    - but most importantly.... tons of problems, and a solutions manual that explains the problem solving process. I do not want a book with a solution manual covering three or four problems in each chapter. [That's why I like art of problem solving books... they explain EVERY problem].
    - A bonus is if the book shows derivations of equations and has additional chapters on optics and relativity or even elementary quantum mechanics.

    I do not want to buy a brand new overpriced college text book.... and older edition would do just fine as long as it and the student solutions manual satisfy my needs as shown above. Of course... as cheaper as possible [but I do not want an online pdf... I'd rather buy a book]

    Thanks for the input.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2016 #2


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    How much math and physics (and what level of physics) do you already know? I think everyone will want to know this in order to give useful suggestions. A little detail here would help.


    EDIT: Ignore my post. The "AP" part of your question somehow didn't stick in my brain. You already made it perfectly clear what level book you want! I'm not personally familiar with what exactly the AP exam covers so will refrain from making a suggestion. I wish you the best of luck.
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  4. May 6, 2016 #3
    Since you plan on taking AP Physics C, which is a calculus-based physics course, I recommend you look at Giancoli, Tipler, or Young. I own a few copies, although I always refer back to Young's University Physics (any edition is fine, such as https://www.amazon.com/Sears-Zemans...86213&sr=8-1&keywords=university+physics+10th one.) I prefer University Physics over both Giancoli and Tipler because of the way the example problems and summaries are outlined. The example problems really explain "everything" without having you to guess where something came from, but don't take my word for it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  5. May 6, 2016 #4
    Try watching Ramamurti Shankar's Fundamentals of Physics II lectures on YouTube: http://bit.ly/24zKwGR

    If you're okay with those, then get used copies of slightly older editions of any of the big introductory university physics like Halliday & Resnick or Giancoli plus the solutions manuals.

    Edit: (Shankar's own book on this comes out next month. It'll probably be good and worth recommending, but I don't think there is a solutions manual.)
  6. May 7, 2016 #5
    I know a bit of calculus... up to basic integration, which I plan to do more in depth this summer with fractional decomposition and trigonometric substitutions.
    I have taken AP Physics C mechanics, which basically covers everything in a physics 1 course, starting with kinematics, and ending with simple harmonic motion.
    Of course, I am willing to learn the calculus needed to succeed in such an E & M course.

    Thanks for the link! I did not hear of him so I thought watching walter lewin would help. Who is better for me, Ramamurti Shanakar or Walter Lewin? Of course, I find it extremely cool that Ramamurti Shanakar has lectures on optics and even quantum mechanics in this playlist!

    How good are the solutions manuals? Do they cover every problem in the text book, or every other, or only two or three problems per chapter?

    What is the name of the book, and when is it coming out? Why do you not think there will not be a solutions manual?
  7. May 7, 2016 #6
    HRW covers many topics and has a large number of exercises. It's a solid choice in my opinion.

    I don't mind Shankars conversational tone, but the lack of exercises kind of takes his books value down a little bit. His lectures are handy, and the book follows his lectures pretty closely.
  8. May 7, 2016 #7
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  9. May 8, 2016 #8
    Hi everyone, my friend gave me "Schaum's outlines in Basic Electricity. Second edition by milton gussow."

    Would you all say that it is more complicated [it has linear algebra and other advanced mathematical topics] than halliday and resnick?
  10. May 8, 2016 #9
    If you have money to spare, I would buy the older edition of Alonso and Finn Fundamental Physics, not The book titled Physics by the same authors. I would supplement it with either Giancoli, Freedman, or Halliday.

    Everything is derived in Alonso and Finn, the problems are hard, and the book is something you can reference. The book is pricey. I like how Alonso and Finn make the physics topics connect. there are some neat explanations of the experiments conducted and why. It's like having a great teacher.
  11. May 8, 2016 #10
    Thanks! I might even do that!
  12. May 8, 2016 #11
    I will have to second this. I used to think Resnick and Halliday is the best. I just acquired original 1973 4th edition pristine copies of three-volume Alonso and Finn - Fundamental University Physics (got a decent deal in ebay) and I must say that Alonso and Fin is much better. I have no idea about the single volume Alonso and Finn - Physics.

    OP, AbeBooks has the Alonso Finn volume 1 and volume 2 Print on Demand shipped from India for decent price. I cannot comment on the print, binding, and page qualities for those.I am actually a bit surprised that selling print on demand for these books are actually legal.


    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  13. May 9, 2016 #12
    Do Alonso and Finn Fundamental physics have tons of problems to solve and a good student solutions manual????

    Thanks for the input!
  14. May 9, 2016 #13
    My 3 volumes have tons of problems but I have never seen a solution manual.
  15. May 9, 2016 #14
    Ouch, well that hurts me. :-(
  16. May 9, 2016 #15
    That is why you get Giancoli, Resnick, or Young, to supplement Alonso. There are even pdf's online for Giancoli, Resnick, or Young.
  17. May 9, 2016 #16
    What pdfs, and where would I find them?
  18. May 10, 2016 #17
    of the books. its against site rules to link. Google is your friend. You can even buy cheap physical copies of old editions for under 10 dollars.
  19. May 10, 2016 #18
    I've seen all the above mentioned books and think they all look good. Except for the Halliday & Resnick book I read during college, I can't comment on which is best, because I haven't completely read all the others.

    One E&M "textbook" which hasn't been mentioned yet is the one available for free in PDF format at the MIT OpenCourseWare website: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-02-physics-ii-electricity-and-magnetism-spring-2007

    I haven't completely read the MIT Physics 8.02 PDF textbook either, but it seems to be very well written, but lengthy. Something else I like about that MIT 8.02 E&M course is the included Electromagnetics Lab Text.

    Also, the other various MIT Physics 8.02_ courses list very popular Electromagnetic Textbooks such as those written by Purcell, Griffin, and Feynman.

    The "original" MIT Physics 8.02 OpenCourseWare with Video Lectures by Walter Lewin isn't supported by MIT anymore because of a sexual harassment lawsuit involving Walter and an "internet" student; but the Video Lectures are still available through archives: http://web.archive.org/web/20140712...s/8-02-electricity-and-magnetism-spring-2002/
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  20. May 14, 2016 #19
    Thanks for the online link!! I think I might do that instead of buying an expensive textbook!
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