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Classical Introduction to Electrodynamics by Griffiths

  1. Strongly Recommend

  2. Lightly Recommend

  3. Lightly don't Recommend

  4. Strongly don't Recommend

  1. Jan 24, 2013 #1

    Code (Text):
    Table of Contents

    1. Vector Analysis
    2. Electrostatics
    3. Potentials
    4. Electric Fields in Matter
    5. Magnetostatics
    6. Magnetic Fields in Matter
    7. Electrodynamics
    8. Conservation Law.
    9. Electromagnetic Waves
    10. Potentials and Fields
    11. Radiation
    12. Electrodynamics and Relativity
    Appendix A: Vector Calculus in Curvilinear Coordinates
    Appendix B: The Helmholtz Theorem
    Appendix C: Units
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2013 #2
    this seems to be the standard text at many schools
    do you have to read the earlier chapters or is there a more thorough/rigorous text? are you supposed to take mechanics first?
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  4. Mar 15, 2013 #3


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    That depends on how much you know already, of course. :smile:

    If you're already familiar with vector calculus (gradient, divergence, curl, line and surface integrals, Stokes's theorem, divergence theorem), you can probably skip most of chapter 1. Maybe skim over it a bit to get used to Griffiths's notation if it's different from what you've used before. If you haven't used the Dirac delta function before, you should read the section about that.
  5. Mar 17, 2013 #4


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    Only intro physics (mechanics and E&M) and multivariable calculus are assumed. You do not need intermediate mechanics before working through Griffiths.

  6. Jun 14, 2013 #5


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    Electrodynamics by D.Griffiths

    I am aware that there is a revised edition for the 'Introduction to Electrodynamics' book by Griffiths. I have two questions:

    1)The book comes in a paperback 'International' Edition or normal hardback. Does anyone know of any differences between the two books? (or in general between int editon and normal)

    2)I am wondering whether to buy the fourth edition or third. Has anyone used the fourth? Or has anyone used the third and looked at the fourth and thought that the third was better?

    Any comments would be helpful,

    Many thanks.
  7. Jun 14, 2013 #6


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    I can't speak for this book specifically (it may be an anomaly) but international versions of textbooks are exactly the same, except perhaps for the cover and ISBN number. The textbook company just realizes that Americans are willing to pay more for textbooks than other nationalities, so charges more in the US. Someone might come to this thread later and inaccurately state that it's illegal to buy an international version of a textbook in America, but that's not true.
  8. Jun 14, 2013 #7
    The two editions (3rd and 4th) are pretty much the same. He added more problems to the 4th, but as much as I've seen, there's no other reason to take the 4th over the 3rd.
  9. Jun 15, 2013 #8


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    The print and paper quality are typically not as good for international editions vs U.S./European editions. The international editions are usually sold in developing markets. The content is the same. It is of course not illegal to purchase the international edition in the U.S. If there is a issue it is between the publisher and the distributor not the end purchaser.
  10. Jun 15, 2013 #9


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    I bought 3 international edition versions of texts over 2 years as an experiment, and find that the paper is flimsy (and sometimes smells funny) and the text clarity is inferior. One of them is hardly readable. I have gone back to buying American.
  11. Jun 15, 2013 #10


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    This is a pretty good book at its level. I am sad that it is the only book used at some schools as the last few chapters (especially relativity) are not as good as earlier ones and it does not cover some topics like electrodynamics thoroughly. I reading another book at the same time or after would help. Many explanations I find lacking like his riff on magnetic forces do no work and dealing with topological issues in vector calculus.
  12. Jun 20, 2013 #11


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    ^I read the second edition. I do not care for Griffiths quantum book does he advertise it in newer editions? That seems like something he would do.
  13. Dec 25, 2013 #12
    I was wondering if anyone has an international edition copy of the third edition. I have seen two versions on ebay: an Indian version with a blue cover and a Chinese version with a black cover. I wonder if either is any good, or if I should just buy a used copy of the hardcover.
  14. Feb 2, 2014 #13
    Don't get the Chinese version!!! The print & paper quality are just unacceptably bad. The font size used is also much smaller.
  15. Feb 3, 2014 #14
    I have the Indian edition (blue cover) and the print and paper quality is pretty good.
  16. Feb 14, 2014 #15
    I slightly did not like this book. I preferred Lorraine and Corson, or Marion Classical Electromagnetics. As an undergraduate my prof asked us to buy Panofsky and Phillips. I found it so difficult I used (i.e. tried to use) Jackson instead.
    Ohanian has a good book on Classical Electrodynamics at this level that I like very much

    I think I like the Dover Book by Melvin Schwartz Principles of Electromagnetics the best. It is inexpensive also.
  17. Jul 30, 2014 #16
    Is vector calculus covered as a review in this book? Or is it presented as if the reader has never been exposed to these topics?

    And in regards to the Dover Book, are there any differences or apparent writing style differences? More or less examples, etc.?
  18. Feb 13, 2017 #17
    I'm going to write a real review for this book since there's surprisingly few of them here.

    Griffiths is like the richest cheesecake you can possibly think of. Rich enough to give you diabetes after two slices, but instead of slices and diabetes, it's two classes and an understanding of E&M you didn't think you could ever have. The thing is, a rich cheesecake is hard to eat. If you're a crazy person who already has diabetes to the point where you down three two liter mountain dews (textbooks) in one day (semester) then sure, Griffiths is probably not that big a deal. But to a normal person who just wants to eat salad and bananas, it can be a little hard to digest. What I'm getting at here is that Griffiths is dense, and it's problems really require a group of people to work with and a knowledgeable advisor if you actually want to learn WELL from it. I don't recommend it for self study unless you are extremely motivated AND have a professor or someone who's worked through it already willing to bounce ideas around with you. If you can somehow do all the problems without any help what-so-ever you're probably dead and omniscient over all reality so be careful not to sneeze or a black hole will kill your family.

    There are a few things you should know before you start the book. Don't work in it if you haven't taken a course in Multi-variable Calculus. I MEAN IT. It doesn't matter that the first chapter reviews it, you need to be at a A- or higher level of Calc 3 to do the problems in the book. There's just too much you need to have practiced. If you haven't taken Calc 3, a waaaay better take on E&M for newbies is Purcell or Halliday/Resnick/KRANE (Not H/R/Walker). If you don't heed my warning, good luck, because Chapter 3 is going to wreck your life forever (you'll literally die).

    That aside, if you are good at Calc 3, you need not have worked through Purcell to get through this book with a good group of people. There were folks in my class who didn't take the honors intro physics sequence who still got A's in the course.

    This book taught me more than I thought I could learn in 16 weeks. Every problem has something unique and purposeful to its placement in the book and you can learn a new trick from all of them. There are some points in it that it doesn't elaborate on very well (namely boundary conditions early on), but they're few and far between. I cannot recommend this book enough, but I don't have to, because literally everyone uses it, because nothing is as good as it. You will have to use this book, and you will love it, or two muscular men will come into your apartment, beat you up, and desecrate your rug that really ties the room together.

    I also recommend reading through the Feynman Lectures on Physics volume on E&M for a supplement. One good skill my professor taught us is that good grad students have 1 or 2 extra books to supplement the required text. This book is a good one to start forming that habit.

    Overall, 10/10 would cheesecake again.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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