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Melvin Schwartz's book on electrodynamic

  1. Jan 3, 2010 #1
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2010 #2
    The level is a little above the average undergrad text. It would be excellent supplemental reading. I'd say it's probably most valuable for grad students. CGS units are used. His coverage of topics like radiation, diffraction, and wave guides are among the most readable I've seen.

    It was unconventional at the time because he uses Lorentz invariance to develop Maxwell's Equations (using the "ict" metric. Oh, well, Physicists have to learn to deal with different metrics).

    I'd like to recommend the undergrad book by Nayfeh & Brussel, but the used prices have gotten ridiculous. Maybe you can find it in the library.
  4. Jan 4, 2010 #3
    Thank You Daverz. I guess I can manage the money. But I wonder being out of print it might be outated. Piz tell me is it so the case.
  5. Jan 4, 2010 #4
    I don't know this particular book, I just want to comment in general:

    I bought enough of the "cheap" books on all different subjects and never once I found anyone very useful. I hate to say if you pay a lot, you don't necessary get a good book, BUT if you pay less, you almost never get a good book. I kept getting fool when I see a book on a subject for $25 instead of over $100, I bought it and it was a bomb!!! I got a stack to show for....from math to RF and all.

    This is my observation, I bought so many books I have much more books on the subjects that I am interested than the Stanford University book store. I can fill at least two tall book shelves just on the subject of Microwave electronics and calculus books........plus a stack of those useless "cheap" books.

    Hate to say, when I buy books, I look at the price first!!!! I save money by buying used instead. And I buy those than have student manual.

  6. Jan 5, 2010 #5
    Isn't the Internet wonderful. You don't have to know anything to venture an opinion.

    Dover does have some books I'd pass over, but this one is one of the gems. They also publish Panofsky & Philips, which was the graduate E&M text before Jackson became popular.

    The way E&M is usually presented hasn't changed much since the 1950's. As I mentioned, the use of "ict" for the metric is old fashioned, though this metric is still often used in QFT. But everything else is standard vector calculus notation.
  7. Jan 5, 2010 #6


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    Schwartz's book is outstanding. It teaches, right from the outset, the relativistic unity of electricity and magnetism. It's a tough book to start with, though. I suggest starting with Griffiths, which is one of the most popular undergrad E&M texts right now. Then work through Schwartz for a deeper appreciation of the beauty of what you just studied.
  8. Jan 6, 2010 #7
    I love Schwartz's pedagogy. Every student would LOVE to start off with relativity. I also found that is a lot more readable(and enjoyable) than Jackson. I can recommend it is a good supplement to standard graduate texts like Schwinger, Landau, or Jackson.

    Also, approach Amazon reviews(or any review) with caution.

    EDIT: Oh wait, you are an undergrad?! Schwartz is fine for undergraduates but you should consider more elementary books like

    Electromagnetic Fields- Wangsness
  9. Jan 8, 2010 #8


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    I own and like Schwartz's book. However, if you have only learned intro EM, then I would not recommend this book. It is a reasonable book only if you already know intermediate EM.

    If you have only learned intro EM, then Griffiths is the way to go for sure. Purcell is a fantastic book, abut it is the kind of book that is "grows" on you - the more EM you learn, the more you will like Purcell. I hated it for intro EM (was very painful), really started liking it after intermediate EM, and loved it after graduate EM.

    If you are studying on your own, I would get a used copy of Griffiths - the newest edition isn't required. I have a copy of the first edition and it is really good. Usually used copies of old editions are cheap!

    good luck,

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  10. Jan 9, 2010 #9

    What 0.o, you've read Shwinger, Landau & Jackson, and you're 15? 0.0
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