# Rigorous introductory books on Electromagnetism

• Classical
To misuse Pauli's famous quip: I fear that you are "not even" struggling.
You should be building a tabernacle of ideas. When presented with a new idea one needs to treat it like an enemy: shine a light on it and prod it with a stick. See if it makes sense in your present knowledge framework and ascertain where it fits. You may need to adjust parts of the scaffolding for your present construction to make room. If this is not a struggle your method is suspect. I feel you need a teacher and recommend that you seek one (or several) for this.
We have talked to each other and I respect you. The problem is that “those” proofs are not at all “obvious” to me although I don’t struggle with basics.

hutchphd
Best of luck.
I don’t think you really want me to have a good luck.

Gold Member
“Them” means those problems that I have stated here. “I’m not struggling with basics, it’s just that I don’t understand them
I have given you my advice.

I have given you my advice.
Yes and I shall follow it.

Homework Helper
2022 Award
@Adesh Thank you for the kind words. I do think you may have great potential.
I hope your confusion is just a matter of perspective for you. This perspective is perhaps the most important part of learning and unfortunately difficult to provide from a distance. I do hope there is somewhere you find more personal teaching because it too is important. And sometimes it is better to have unanswered questions and just let them age a little. You may find the answer from an unexpected source in time and you need some confidence in that process. Great good luck.

@Adesh Thank you for the kind words. I do think you may have great potential.
I hope your confusion is just a matter of perspective for you. This perspective is perhaps the most important part of learning and unfortunately difficult to provide from a distance. I do hope there is somewhere you find more personal teaching because it too is important. And sometimes it is better to have unanswered questions and just let them age a little. You may find the answer from an unexpected source in time and you need some confidence in that process. Great good luck.
I will save this post of yours forever.

MidgetDwarf
Kip: Electricity and Magnetism. Very condensed book, but well written. My favorite is the 2nd book of Alonso and Finn: Fundamental University Physics.

Mondayman
I like the look of the Alonso and Finn series, but it is hard to get for a reasonable price.

MidgetDwarf
I like the look of the Alonso and Finn series, but it is hard to get for a reasonable price.

True. But sometimes, it can be had for under $100. This is one instance, where the information and presentation, outweigh the cost. I would gladly pay$400 for this series, and not regret it.

Not sure if the 1st edition is out of copyright. I have seen pdfs of the book floating around. But I'm not sure of the legality of said copies.

Mondayman
True. But sometimes, it can be had for under $100. This is one instance, where the information and presentation, outweigh the cost. I would gladly pay$400 for this series, and not regret it.

Not sure if the 1st edition is out of copyright. I have seen pdfs of the book floating around. But I'm not sure of the legality of said copies.
Would you say Alonso and Finn is closer to Purcell than it is to an introductory text like HRW or Serway? I find Serway to be a little easy on the math.

MidgetDwarf
Would you say Alonso and Finn is closer to Purcell than it is to an introductory text like HRW or Serway? I find Serway to be a little easy on the math.
Yes. Alonso does not skimp on mathematics. neat derivations, which allows readers to think how the theory is connected. Beautiful explanation of the Lorentz transformation, momentum. etc. Problems are way easier than Purcell, but they compliment each other so well. The beauty of Alonso comes in volume 2 and 3.

Mondayman
MidgetDwarf
hmm. Read the section on kinematics in Alonso, then compare it to HRW and Serway. Alonso actually derives the general form (3-dimension as seen in Calculus 3. But HRW and Serway do not. Moreover, the diagrams in Alonso are memorable.

Mondayman
Ishika_96_sparkles

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Gold Member
This is a problem of overreaching. The study of physics is a progression where each subject builds upon everything that came before. One won’t move forward (to quantum theory, for example) if there are holes in one’s preparation and mastery of basics, up to and including E&M.

Ishika_96_sparkles
This is a problem of overreaching. The study of physics is a progression where each subject builds upon everything that came before. One won’t move forward (to quantum theory, for example) if there are holes in one’s preparation and mastery of basics.

Science develops sequentially. One cannot build a Mac-book without first inventing a light-bulb!

My first quote.

This is a problem of overreaching. The study of physics is a progression where each subject builds upon everything that came before. One won’t move forward (to quantum theory, for example) if there are holes in one’s preparation and mastery of basics, up to and including E&M.
Yes your words are true our case here in this thread is different. My situation is such that I'm an autodidact from 3 years, so when I get some doubt no matter how basic I ponder over it and if I myself don't get a way out of it I just ask it over here. When an autodidact ask some basic doubts, people tend to think "Why is he asking such an obvious thing?" because when teachers teach those topics they cover some of the usual doubts (due to experience they know it) or it can happen that someone else in the class ask a doubt and things will get clear up.

Consider this example: In Griffiths, when he takes the curl of magnetic field, he just writes
$$\left( \mathbf J \nabla\right) \hat{ r} = - \left (\mathbf J \nabla '\right) \hat{ r}$$

Without much clarification, but in the book suggested by @vanhees71 sir (Greiner's EM) this point is explained properly, that is how we moved from unprimed gradient to primed gradient. Just imagine if this thing were to be taught in a class room, this point would have been a obvious one because the instructor must have known it to be a common doubt.

So, this is the case here. I thought things would going to fine after a great reply of @hutchphd sir, but I don't know why a new user did something like that to me. But I have no hard feelings for anyone, everybody cheers.

atyy
Ishika_96_sparkles
Yes your words are true our case here in this thread is different. My situation is such that I'm an autodidact from 3 years, so when I get some doubt no matter how basic I ponder over it and if I myself don't get a way out of it I just ask it over here. When an autodidact ask some basic doubts, people tend to think "Why is he asking such an obvious thing?" because when teachers teach those topics they cover some of the usual doubts (due to experience they know it) or it can happen that someone else in the class ask a doubt and things will get clear up.

Consider this example: In Griffiths, when he takes the curl of magnetic field, he just writes
$$\left( \mathbf J \nabla\right) \hat{ r} = - \left (\mathbf J \nabla '\right) \hat{ r}$$

Without much clarification, but in the book suggested by @vanhees71 sir (Greiner's EM) this point is explained properly, that is how we moved from unprimed gradient to primed gradient. Just imagine if this thing were to be taught in a class room, this point would have been a obvious one because the instructor must have known it to be a common doubt.

So, this is the case here. I thought things would going to fine after a great reply of @hutchphd sir, but I don't know why a new user did something like that to me. But I have no hard feelings for anyone, everybody cheers.

I posted the link to help people here to help you in a better way. I knew from our discussions as to where you are stuck. Maybe, you took my posting it in a different way. You have told us that you are an auto-didact. Perhaps, you need the books that give all the steps of mathematical derivations. Then, please go for the Greiner's books, as suggested by @vanhees71. They are great for self-learners as they provide most of the steps needed by a student who does not have a good grasp over mathematics.

Best Wishes

Mentor
I’m not struggling with basic concepts, it’s just that I don’t understand them.
I told you I’m having no problem in basics.
No, what you told us in the first quote above is that you don't understand basic concepts. I recognize that English is not your first language, but the way pronouns work in English is as placeholders for the nearest preceding noun. What you wrote in the first quote above is equivalent to "I’m not struggling with basic concepts, it’s just that I don’t understand basic concepts."

If that was not what you meant, then you weren't communicating clearly. Everyone who saw what you wrote interpreted it exactly as I have explained here, and this is why there were so many replies saying that you should go back to basics if you were having trouble understanding them.

weirdoguy and Ishika_96_sparkles
No, what you told us in the first quote above is that you don't understand basic concepts. I recognize that English is not your first language, but the way pronouns work in English is as placeholders for the nearest preceding noun. What you wrote in the first quote above is equivalent to "I’m not struggling with basic concepts, it’s just that I don’t understand basic concepts."

If that was not what you meant, then you weren't communicating clearly. Everyone who saw what you wrote interpreted it exactly as I have explained here, and this is why there were so many replies saying that you should go back to basics if you were having trouble understanding them.
Yes, that may be the case. @Vanadium50 asked me and suggested me his advice in a good faith and I'm thankful to him, I was rude to @Vanadium 50, I accept that. I communicated badly, I accept that. Everyone gave their precious time and effort, I appreciate that and will be grateful to them always.

Homework Helper
Gold Member
"But sometimes I don't get things which are "obvious" and Griffiths very well provided a way out of that but some of his proofs (see his proof of Magnetic field by solenoid and toroid) are quite too personal."
The word "obvious" should never be used in physics. The most 'obvious' thing is that the horse can't pull the cart because of Newton's 3rd law. You might try Griffith's 1st edition which was nuts and bolts and less personally anecdotal.
I recommend "Classical Electromagnetism" by Franklin. It is high level, but starts at the beginning and assumes no prior knowledge.