Suggestions for studying Electromagnetism

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dRic2
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(Hope I posted in the right section)

Hi, starting from next semester I will have to attend classes that require a "decent" understanding of electromagnetism. I know very little about it though (it's a very long story...) so I started to study Griffith's book. At least I know the mathematics well enough to understand it (not tensor), so this speeds up the process of learning, but, of course, it takes a lot of time.
Then it came to me that usually most students, before attending an EM course, have already studied waves mechanics and optics in general physics courses. Well, I didn't (still long story...). Anyway I know the mathematics for a basic understanding and I know something about the physics too, but not much in detail.

Do you think I should study waves and a little bit of optic first to better understand EM, or I can skip it and study it later if I have the time (I'm planning to study it anyway) ?

thanks
Ric
 

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Wrichik Basu
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Wave mechanics is generally required only when you reach Maxwell's Wave equation. That is where you need to know the general wave equation. I don't remember needing optics while studying electromagnetism.

However, if you need, you can refer to these two courses which are on basic physics: Fundamentals of Physics Part 1 and Part 2 by Prof. Ramamurti Shankar. Part 1 is basically the mechanics and dynamics and relativity, while part 2 has introductory electromagnetism and optics and some quantum mechanics as well. In addition, the lecture notes are available in book form: Fundamentals of Physics Volume 1 and Volume 2. But you don't need the books very much if you like the lectures. Refer to the lectures when you need. I have myself learnt from those lectures, so they are good.

In addition, for you can have a look at this lecture course in electromagnetism, because I feel that when someone teaches you, things become a bit easier: Electromagnetism by Prof. Manoj Harbola. This course is in a good depth and you might consider having a look at it. It covers everything that Prof. Shankar covers, but in more details. If you can't understand at first, you might have to go back to Prof. Shankar's course and attend the electromagnetism part.
 
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dRic2
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Thanks for all the material, but I think I'll stick to Griffith's book because I prefer to study on books. I think I'm going to skip optics and learn something about waves mechanics on the way.

PS: I'll definitively watch the youtube lectures for "intellectual pleasure" ;)
 
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ZapperZ
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Thanks for all the material, but I think I'll stick to Griffith's book because I prefer to study on books. I think I'm going to skip optics and learn something about waves mechanics on the way.
If you can pick up Griffith's and study from it, then you have almost everything you need. It is when you come across something and you have no idea how it was derived or where it came from that you will need to go look elsewhere.

Zz.
 
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dRic2
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Hi, I would like to ask for one more advice.

I've studied the first two chapters and a bit of the third and I did all the exercise "on the way" (the ones between paragraphs - not the ones at the end of each chapter).
Since I have other courses to attend (and to study) I try to dedicate 2 hours at night to Griffiths' book, but the time is still limited. I know that the more exercise I do the better, but what do you think about the exercises at the end of the chapters ?

Should I skip them and maybe take a look at them in the future or should I try to solve as much as I can ?

Note that I'm talking about the exercise at the end of the chapters, not the on "in the middle".
 
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Hi, I would like to ask for one more advice.

I've studied the first two chapters and a bit of the third and I did all the exercise "on the way" (the ones between paragraphs - not the ones at the end of each chapter).
Since I have other courses to attend (and to study) I try to dedicate 2 hours at night to Griffiths' book, but the time is still limited. I know that the more exercise I do the better, but what do you think about the exercises at the end of the chapters ?

Should I skip them and maybe take a look at them in the future or should I try to solve as much as I can ?

Note that I'm talking about the exercise at the end of the chapters, not the on "in the middle".
What I generally do when I'm pressed for time and am considering problem sets that aren't required:

Essentially skim through them and see if the "first solution" is immediately obvious after reading the problem statement. That is, don't default to doing each problem, but quickly ask yourself if you are certain of the approach that you would take. If the appropriate techniques are not obvious, then you may have found a problem that will offer more benefit for the time you spend, rather than spending time grinding through the algebra on a process that's already very familiar to you.

Of course, if you tend to be overconfident, you may end up skipping more problems than you should be. On the flip side, if you lack confidence, doing extra (but perhaps unnecessary) practice problems will help build confidence.
 
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dRic2
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What I generally do when I'm pressed for time and am considering problem sets that aren't required:

Essentially skim through them and see if the "first solution" is immediately obvious after reading the problem statement. That is, don't default to doing each problem, but quickly ask yourself if you are certain of the approach that you would take. If the appropriate techniques are not obvious, then you may have found a problem that will offer more benefit for the time you spend, rather than spending time grinding through the algebra on a process that's already very familiar to you.

Of course, if you tend to be overconfident, you may end up skipping more problems than you should be. On the flip side, if you lack confidence, doing extra (but perhaps unnecessary) practice problems will help build confidence.
What about those exercises that requires to go through the math and maybe use some "tricks" to avoid endless calculations? Maybe the idea behind those exercise seems straightforward, but we you really have to carry out the solution you eventually get stuck due to lack of "skills" rather than lack of knowledge.
 

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