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Study E&M concurrently with CM

  1. Aug 28, 2007 #1
    is it a plausible thing? i'm sure it's possible because almost anything is possible, the question is it wise? an example of my hesitation to study something before it's prerequisites is that i don't want to study QM before studying hamiltonian and lagranian mechanics. should i be worried about something like this for E&M and CM?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2007 #2


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    By "CM", do you mean classical mechanics?
    What level [textbooks] are you talking about here?
    What is your current mathematical preparation?
  4. Aug 28, 2007 #3
    i have math through calc 2 and ODE. i'm taking linear algebra and calc 3 right now. i'm studying classical mechanics from kleppner and i would study E&M from griffiths or some other undergraduate text.
  5. Aug 28, 2007 #4


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    In my opinion, Kleppner to Purcell is more appropriate.
    I think you need a course like Purcell or its equivalent before Griffiths.

    Mathematical usage:
    (MECH) Kleppner - Vector Algebra, Calculus, some vector calculus, ODE
    (E&M) Purcell - Vector Algebra, Calculus, more vector calculus
    [(MECH) Marion - Vector Algebra, Calculus, some vector calculus, ODEs, Variational Calculus ]
    (E&M) Griffiths - Calculus, even more Vector Calculus, PDEs (and ODEs)

    I think Kleppner concurrent with Purcell is doable... if you are comfortable with the mathematics in use.
  6. Aug 28, 2007 #5
    I took E &M, using Griffith's, before Classical Mechanics, and I didn't have any trouble. I think I just had to look up F= -Div(U)
  7. Aug 28, 2007 #6
    know any other equivalents to purcell? i don't have that one

    what about this book for CM?

    Introduction to Classical Mechanics, 2nd ed. - Atam P. Arya

    and these for E&M

    Introductory Electromagnetics - H. Nef

    Introductory Electromagnetics - Z. Popovic, B. Popovic

    Classical Electrodynamics for Undergraduates - H. Norbury

    and how about texts in the next level? the hope is that after i complete a book like kleppner i'll be able to do landau and lif****z or goldstein and after completing the intermediate E&M i'll be able to do jackson.

    :lol: at lifshi.tz
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2007
  8. Aug 29, 2007 #7
    I did classical mechanics and E&M at the same time as an undergrad (Griffiths and. . . someone else), and as a grad (Goldstein & Jackson).

    I'm really unsure why doing so would present a problem. I can see how classical might be good to take before quantum. . . but even there, not a big deal.
  9. Aug 29, 2007 #8


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    In general, doing mechanics and E&M concurrently is not a problem if you are sufficiently advanced. In grad school, it's typical that your first semester has some combination of classical mechanics, E&M, and Quantum concurrently. At the introductory level [where you are probably seeing things for the very first time], it is likely to be more of a problem if you are not mathematically prepared.

    You might find this list useful:
    http://math.berkeley.edu/~ajt/physics_textbooks.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  10. Aug 29, 2007 #9
    If you have the mathematical sophistication, Goldstein, Classical Mechanics is still one of the clearest and thorough textbook on mechanics.
  11. Aug 29, 2007 #10
    wonderful site robphy
  12. Aug 29, 2007 #11
    :lol: this should be J. Norbury I think. He is my advisor and he wrote this book while he was a Professor at UWM. It is a good text, but you will have to be up on your integration and derivatives. It is geared toward a freshman/sophomore taking physics after taking first semester of introductory physics. It is not in a final form (since so many people pirated it and illegally distributed it across the internet) but it is serviceable.

  13. Aug 29, 2007 #12
    what do you mean by "sufficiently advanced" or "mathematically prepared"? Would a math background up to vector calc, linear alg and ODEs be sufficient?
  14. Aug 29, 2007 #13


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    Basically, what I mean is that..

    when starting out in the intro courses where everything is new, it's probably not a good idea to take "Physics I" concurrently with "Physics II"... say, a course using the first half of Halliday-Resnick along with the next course using the second-half of H-R.

    when doing the intermediate courses, which assumed that you've already done Physics I and II and a set of calculus courses.. hopefully up to some linear algebra, vector calculus, and differential equations, you may be able to do mechanics and electromagnetism concurrently. For some, the intermediate level courses may be large step up from the introductory courses. It may be best to follow the department's curriculum, which might not have them concurrent. But if you want them concurrent, possibly rushing the courses, some mathematical maturity (meaning mastery of the mathematical requirements) may be required. It really depends on the way those courses (both intro and intermediate) are taught. (See my rough list of math topics at the various levels my post, #4 above.)

    by graduate school, one should be prepared to handle current courses (e.g. Goldstein and Jackson) concurrently.
  15. Aug 29, 2007 #14
    so it shouldnt be too bad to do marion and griffith if I've completed all my intro physics along with vector calc, linear alg, and ODEs?
  16. Aug 29, 2007 #15
    The only way to know, is to do it. If it's too hard, learn some more maths...
  17. Aug 29, 2007 #16
    Cassiday and Folwes Analytical Mechanics, is also a standard mid-level mechanics book. The first 5 chapters are great and can be done with mostly vector calc. and differential equations. After that, the book kind of goes down hill; though, it does save it self on its treatment of oscillations in the final chapter (it's Lagrangian treatment is horrible. Pick up a modern geometry (diff. geo) that covers calculus of variations and you will be in a world of joy!)
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