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Physics Book on EM Waves, Radiation

  1. Jun 13, 2014 #1
    Hey, I'm new here but I was hoping you guys could help me out. I am currently studying Waves mainly using MIT's course 8.03 - Vibrations & Waves.

    I am now at a point where I have almost finished reading AP French and entering EM Waves. Unfortunately French decided (for whatever reason) to not include electromagnetic waves in his discussion on the subject. It get's worse, since Walter Lewin has a habit of going fast sometimes and he decided to copy exactly the derivation about the production of EM waves from the MIT book on EM radiation by Bekefi & Barrett. I don't have access to this book and to my surprise, after searching google for some time now, there don't seem to be much resources at all on EM waves/radiation books.

    I don't want an engineering book, I want a book with quality explanations and Derivations. Use of rigorous mathematics is also welcome as long as it is truly meant for an UNDERGRADUATE audience.

    Any suggestions at all? Other than B&B or Berkeley Physics Course...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Jun 13, 2014 #3
    I must ask, is it thorough in it's exposition of EM waves? I mean does it include Larmor’s
    formula? That is where I am at right now and not having a book to read through it at my own pace is bothering me.

    EDIT: Nevermind, it does. Any other suggestions?
  5. Jun 13, 2014 #4


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    Classical Electromagnetic Radiation-Marion and Heald

    This is what we used in my EM class. It has thorough derivations and calculations as well as instructive problems. Good luck.
  6. Jun 13, 2014 #5


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    If you are comfortable with upper division books like Griffiths or Marion&Heald then you may as well use them and be done with it. Bekefi and Barrett is definitely at a lower level, however. This is part of what makes B&B unique among electrodynamic texts as far as I can tell, along with the fact that it covers some practical aspects like guided waves, antennas, wave impedance and impedance matching all at a basic but useful level. I don't know if the ocw course you are looking at covers that material or not.

    More at the level of B&B is the waves book by Georgi :
    and the lecture notes for physics 315 and 316 (352 is at Griffiths level) at:
    None of those have everything in B&B, but perhaps they have enough to supplement French .

    Good luck!
  7. Jun 14, 2014 #6
    Alright guys, thanks a lot for your replies! All of you!
    I also talked with Prof. Walter Lewin himself and he did mention that there are only a few books which cover the material of his course 'Vibrations & Waves', which must be the reason why I couldn't find an abundance of books to fit the criteria.

    Thanks again for the recommendations and links.

    Now I must ask, did you guys also do a course about Oscillations and Waves - Oscillators, Normal Modes, Mechanical Waves, Sound, Electromagnetic Waves, Interference, Diffraction, etc. - Or did you learn all this from various different courses that you had to take?

    Oh and please if you have any other lecture note links I would be very grateful if you could share.

  8. Jun 14, 2014 #7


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    I was an electrical engineering major, and we had to take 3 semesters of intro physics. The third semester was waves, optics, and some of the basics of modern physics (wave nature of particles, photoelectric effect, blackbody radiation, etc). I took the honors version, which covered almost everything in Bekefi and Barrett (we used Pain, too, which wasn't so good), and used Tipler's Modern Physics for the other stuff. I was not at MIT. Upper division EE electromagnetics classes covered most of the material again at a higher level, of course.

  9. Jun 14, 2014 #8
    Feynman starts with the Larmor formula in his chapters on radiation in volume 1 of the Lectures (Maxwell's Equations are not covered until volume 2.)

    Schwartz has an excellent presentation of radiation from a more fundamental viewpoint, though not with the detail of an engineering-oriented book. You're vector calc will need to be strong for this book.
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