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Classical Jackson's Electrodynamics: 1st edition vs 3rd edition

  1. Sep 21, 2015 #1
    Hello all. I am currently using Jackson's Electrodynamics book to study the subject and was wondering how different is the 1st edition from the 3rd. So far, I have read the first chapter and have done most of the problems from the first edition. My question is, how much will I miss out on if I use the first edition over the 3rd for the remainder of the book? (I found the 1st edition for free so I don't really want to spend money on the 3rd if it's not completely necessary).
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2015 #2


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    The preface for the third edition outlines the changes in detail. I think you can make your own determination based on that info. Probably the biggest difference is that the third edition uses SI units, which might make things easier.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2015
  4. Sep 21, 2015 #3


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    I used the first edition in a course when the instructor was using the third edition. I didn't have any problems with the content, but some of the problems had changed. When this happened, I just photocopied the updated problem from one of the other students.
  5. Sep 21, 2015 #4
    Would Griffiths' Intro to Electrodynamics be sufficient background for starting Jackson's text?
  6. Sep 22, 2015 #5
    Griffith might give the electrodynamic background, but Jackson would probably need some Mathematical Physics prerequisite like from Arfken, or Byron and Fuller, Seshadri, or the comprehensive Morse and Feshbach.
  7. Sep 22, 2015 #6


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    I'd prefer the 1st or 2nd edition over the 3rd, because the former two are written entirely in the 2nd-best choice of units (the Gaussian units; the best choice are rationlized Heaviside-Lorentz units). SCNR ;-).
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