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Help before EM

  1. Oct 16, 2011 #1

    I'm an applied math major and this is my senior year. I was suppose to get EM over with last fall but I transferred institutions and they didn't offer it in the fall. So I was going to take It in the spring but my schedule didn't allow it. Now I have to take it in the spring and I have to take it calculus based. I did general physics I not university physics I. My math advisor says I should be fine because I've seen a lot of the calculus already. However, I'm worried that I might not do so well since I've forgotten a lot of the material from gen phisics I. So what should I study before EM? How mush does EM depends on your knowledge from mechanics? Thanks. Any suggestions would be helpful. Also, I'm an honor student with a 3.84 GPA.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2011 #2
    From my experience E&M is not all that closely related to mechanics although you will see some similar terms and some of the calculations are similar (i.e. adding up force vectors in the x and y directions). Be warned though, most find E&M significantly more difficult than mechanics (I know I did)--it feels a lot more abstract. The calculus--from my experience--is not all that advanced. Good luck.
  4. Oct 16, 2011 #3
    Thanks. What do you think i should touch base on before the class?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  5. Oct 16, 2011 #4
    Hey, I had a similar situation where I ended up going back to my physics degree roughly 7 years after I had taken college level General Physics I & II. If you can afford to I would recommend reading through the EM chapters of the excellent Halliday and Resnick intro text. As far as math preparation, vector calculus is crucial and differential equations is very helpful.
  6. Oct 16, 2011 #5


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    I'm not sure what sort of EM course you are talking about here.

    You said "I have to take it calculus based" which seems to imply it is a fairly elementary level course if there is a non-calculus-based alternative. In that case you probabably don't need to revise anything much.

    On the other hand, the EM course that I did in my final year as part of an applied math degree (many years ago on the UK) was at least 90% vector calculus, fourier series, complex analysis, PDEs etc, and not "elementary" in any sense of the word - though again, it didn't presuppose much knowledge of physics.
  7. Oct 16, 2011 #6
    To alephZero

    It's called university physics 2 and it's not algebra based like general physics 2 but calculus based. Both gen physic 2 and university physics 2 cover Electro magnetism.
  8. Oct 16, 2011 #7
    To factorsof2

    The problem is that the professor who teaches this course doesn't go by the book( the book you recommended is the book for the course). Most people tell me that the book wasn't helpful for the course and that they just studied off old exams. This is why I'm a little more concerned than usual. Also, I've taken cal 3 and diffy q and got an A in both of these courses.
  9. Oct 16, 2011 #8
    I took a simple engineering EM course. It was just vector calculus .. and maybe like 5-10% physics.
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