Jackson and Pathria advice

  • #1
So this coming semester I'm taking my first courses in graduate level EM and statmech using Jackson and Pathria. My first term was softer academically, so I've taken the time to review certain mathematical subjects - vector calculus, DEs, and linear algebra. Does anyone have any particular advice for studying with these books for these course?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
atyy
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Pathria is really good, but it still might be helpful to consult some supplementary texts if you find an occasional explanation in there unclear. Kardar, whose notes and book I also like, has a good list here: http://web.mit.edu/8.333/www/admin/Organization.html.
 
  • #3
vanhees71
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Concerning Jackson: It's of course a great standard source to learn all the details of classical electromagnetism, including a thorough treatment of the mathematical methods used to solve partial differential equations. It's also the only book I know where the complete multipole expansion for wave fields is treated in all details (though I prefer a group-theoretical approach using representation theory of the rotation group, but at the end of the day the results are of course the same). The 3rd edition is spoiled by using the SI and then switching to (un-rationalized) Gaussian units. That's why I'd prefer the 2nd edition which is more coherent, using the Gaussian units throughout.

What I feel gets lost in Jackson is the beauty of the subject which is only revealed using a treatment in terms of a relativistic classical field theory. That's unfortunately only treated very late in Jackson's book (though that treatment is also a masterpiece). That's why I recommend to also read Landau-Lifshitz vol. 2 in parallel, where everything is treated relativistically from the very beginning.

Another very good book is J. Schwinger, Classical electrodynamics. This I particularly recommend for the treatment of cylinder-symmetrical problems. The introduction of the cylindrical Bessel, Neumann, and Hankel functions is a gem!
 
  • #4
Thank you both very much. I was planning on purchasing a couple supplement texts, so I'll definitely check out those you've recommended.
 
  • #7
Dr_Nate
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The following is my general advice for high level courses, if the prof is following a textbook.

Go to class and don't bother taking notes. Most of the reason you are attending class is to use it as a review/preview and to see what the prof emphasizes. Outside of class, you should just sit down and go through every derivation and calculation in the textbook. Try to stay ahead of the prof though.

Before you start any derivation from the book, I suggest you skim the derivation by going backwards through it. Start with the final result and work your way back and see if you can find where each variable and constant first appears. Once you've done a recon of the derivation then try to follow it forward.
 
  • #8
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1
So this coming semester I'm taking my first courses in graduate level EM and statmech using Jackson and Pathria. My first term was softer academically, so I've taken the time to review certain mathematical subjects - vector calculus, DEs, and linear algebra. Does anyone have any particular advice for studying with these books for these course?
I think you should stick with your professor lecture notes and avoid engaging the reading of both of them, they are really difficult to read, and they are not for self study , so I think for both of your courses just try to do more examples .
 

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