Prerequisites for Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics

In summary, In order to be best prepared for a graduate course in electrodynamics, you should read Electricity and Magnetism by Griffith, Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences by Mary Boas, and Modern Electrodynamics by Zangwill. Jackson's book is a bit harder to understand than the other two texts, but it is still possible to follow.
  • #1
askalot
22
0
Hello,
I have already studied Griffith's book, Intro to Electrodynamics.
However when I try Jackson's book, I find it a bit hard for me.
My question is, what Maths and Physics texts (or specifically, chapters of texts) do you recommend, so that I would be best prepared for a graduate course in electrodynamics?
What should I know?
Thank you in advance,
askalot.
 
Last edited:
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Purcell - Electricity and Magnetism is at a lower level and might help.
I don't have a recommendation for a multivariable calculus text or complex analysis text, but these are needed.
 
  • #3
askalot said:
Hello,
I have already studied Griffith's book, Intro to Electrodynamics.

What exactly do you mean by "studied"? Did you use it as the text in your E&M class? Or did you simply read through it like a novel?

This is because a lot of the mathematics that is needed to do Jackson's book, you would have used it in some form in the exercises from Griffith. You may not have to use the math as extensively in Griffith as you would in Jackson, but you would at least have seen the type of math needed (as in the solutions to many partial differential equations).

As always, as I've advised many students on here, if you haven't looked at Mary Boas's text "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences", you should!

Zz.
 
  • #4
First I'm going to assume you actually understood most of what you read in Griffiths and therefore have a basic understanding of ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, linear vector spaces, and vector calculus over real fields.

However, unless you are really comfortable with solving partial differential equations and boundary value problems in Cartesian, cylindrical, spherical and ellipsoidal coordinates (at minimum) I would encourage reading An Elementary Treatise on Fourier's Series and Spherical, Cylindrical, and Ellipsoidal Harmonics with applications to problems in mathematical physics by Byerly. It is an old book (1893 publishing) but has one of the most inductive approaches to PDEs and special functions making everything seem natural. I found it cited by Jackson in several chapters. Don't try to solve every problem just learn enough so that you accept what special functions show up in the respective geometries and why.

Review and strengthen your vector calculus by reading Chapter 1 on "Mathematical Preliminaries" in Modern Electrodynamics by Zangwill. There are other books on vector calculus specifically (some better some worse) but this has all you need and covers some other necessary topics.

Learn complex contour integration. If you are still in school take a course in complex variables (the applied course not complex analysis) before you graduate. If you can't fit it in your schedule pick up a copy of Schuam's Outline of Theory and Problems with an introduction to conformal mapping by Spiegel (I prefer the 1964 edition). The chapters you want to focus on are 4 through 9. An alternative to chapter 8,9 of Spiegel is to read Section 7.4-7.8 "Method of Conformal Transformation" in Fields and Waves in Communication Electronics by Ramo, Whinnery and Van Duzar. But it is much much shorter.

If you are already familiar with one-dimensional Fourier series/transforms, complex variables, basic special functions and vector calculus then I would suggest the following:

Section 9.3-9.4 on "Two -dimensional Fourier Transforms" and "Hankel Transforms" in Linear Systems, Fourier Transforms, and Optics by Gaskill
Chapter 2 on "Green's Functions" in Field Theory of Guided Waves by R.E. Collin
Section 4.1-4.2 on "Vector Spherical Harmonics" in Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles by Bohren and Huffman
Chapter 4 on "Asymptotic Evaluation of Integrals" in Radiation and Scattering of Waves by L.B. Felsen and N. Marcuvitz
Section 2.2-2.7 on "Steinmetz representation of time-harmonic vectors" in Electromagnetic Waves by C. Someda

That should get you through Chapter 10 of the 3rd edition baring any variational or pertubative approach.
 
  • Like
Likes annaphys, dsatkas and dextercioby
  • #5
ZapperZ said:
What exactly do you mean by "studied"? Did you use it as the text in your E&M class? Or did you simply read through it like a novel?

This is because a lot of the mathematics that is needed to do Jackson's book, you would have used it in some form in the exercises from Griffith. You may not have to use the math as extensively in Griffith as you would in Jackson, but you would at least have seen the type of math needed (as in the solutions to many partial differential equations).

As always, as I've advised many students on here, if you haven't looked at Mary Boas's text "Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences", you should!

Zz.

While Boas' text is quite comprehensive in its own right, her treatment of partial differential equations, differential series solutions, and special functions is lacking in the mathematical rigor required for a proper understanding of Jackson's book. What do you think?
 
  • #6
@adamf14 really, the post is over three years old...I think they already completed Jackson...
 
  • Like
Likes poseidon721
  • #7
Touche! My fault for not checking the date! Although, knowing Jackson... :)
 
  • Like
Likes poseidon721

Related to Prerequisites for Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics

1. What is the prerequisite knowledge required to study Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics?

The prerequisite knowledge required to study Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics includes a strong understanding of vector calculus, multivariable calculus, and differential equations. A background in classical mechanics and basic principles of electricity and magnetism is also essential.

2. Are there any recommended textbooks or resources to help prepare for studying Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics?

Yes, some recommended resources include "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by David J. Griffiths and "Classical Electrodynamics" by John David Jackson. Online resources such as MIT OpenCourseWare and Khan Academy also offer helpful materials for reviewing prerequisite concepts.

3. Is it necessary to have prior knowledge of special relativity before studying Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics?

While a basic understanding of special relativity is helpful, it is not a strict prerequisite for studying Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics. However, some concepts in the textbook may reference special relativity, so it is recommended to have some familiarity with it.

4. Can I study Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics without a strong background in mathematics?

No, a strong background in mathematics is essential for understanding and applying the concepts in Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics. A solid understanding of calculus, vector calculus, and differential equations is necessary for success in this subject.

5. Is it possible to learn Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics without a physics background?

While it is possible to learn the material without a physics background, it may be more challenging. A strong foundation in physics, particularly in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, will provide a better understanding of the concepts in Jackson's Classical Electrodynamics.

Similar threads

  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
26
Views
2K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
21
Views
2K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
26
Views
3K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
2
Replies
50
Views
4K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
14
Views
5K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
9
Views
591
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
2
Views
4K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Science and Math Textbooks
Replies
8
Views
2K
Back
Top