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Text Book for Electrodynamics

  1. Feb 16, 2010 #1
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2010 #2
    Griffith's is one of the best textbooks I've used, (except for the treatment of laplace's equation which killed me when I was a sophomore without a little bit of outside knowledge of the most basic of PDE's), maybe you could find it in a library. No it doesn't require linear algebra.
  4. Feb 16, 2010 #3
    I'm almost done with calculus 3, do you think I'll be fine if I jump right into it after finishing calculus?
  5. Feb 16, 2010 #4
    Yea I'd say that's the standard prep. I guess you should probably have some brief knowledge of ODE's. Like I said I got killed in chapter 3. My prof could not understand at all what my problem was so that didn't help. Reading the first chapter in any intro to PDE's book would have made my life so much easier. But I'd say just dive in and if find a certain part the be very difficult maybe there's a reason why :smile:.
  6. Feb 16, 2010 #5
    Should I have any background knowledge of other physics such as mechanics or anything?
  7. Feb 16, 2010 #6
    Yes you should have a 2-3 semester intro physics sequence preferably.
  8. Feb 17, 2010 #7
    You could look for the paperback edition of the book you mentioned which is half prize.
  9. Feb 17, 2010 #8
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  10. Feb 18, 2010 #9
    So it looks like I'm going for the soft cover Griffith's one. I really have no knowledge of ODE's or PDE's, will I get lost without any knowledge of the?
  11. Feb 19, 2010 #10
    If you're worried about the mathematics you can use this book as a supplement:
    There are used paperback copies starting from $32.00.
    From what I remember, Griffiths expects you to know vector calculus, and well. Many of the questions seem to be disguised vector calc problems to me. ODEs would be nice too, but I think he walks you through all the differential equations stuff. I am not a fan of Griffith's style, but I don't know any other books. But yea, the book by Boas is really helpful, not just for the EM course but for all your undergrad physics courses.
    Have fun.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Feb 19, 2010 #11
    You might try a more intermediate text like Rojansky. The first half of The Feynman Lectures vol. 2 is also good for background reading (no exercises).
  13. Feb 19, 2010 #12
    Yea technically you will be fine, you don't really need ODE's or PDE's, he walks you through that stuff like someone said above, It's just my opinion that he does a kind of poor job of it in chapter 3, which just blew my mind back in the day. But there's no use worrying about that really, you just have to jump right in I guess.
  14. Feb 20, 2010 #13
    I agree actually. Everyone says he does a wonderful job of explaining mathematics you don't know, but I disagree. I hadn't taken PDEs when I read his EM book and I found his explanations of PDEs quite poor, which is where I found Boas's book very useful. I also used Introduction to the Differential Equations of Physics by Ludwig Hopf, a dover book which they don't seem to be publishing anymore, but is very cheap and excellently written. Hopf first covers ODEs briefly, then methods for PDEs, and then the most common PDEs in physics, all the time with lots of physical intuition. And all in only 120 pages or so. Don't worry about the age of the book, it's still very useful.

    (By the way, I found his explanations of the mathematics in his QM book quite poor as well. Which is one of the reasons I don't like the two books.)

    EDIT: working through physics books with mathematics you haven't learnt yet is part and parcel of being a physics student, or so my physics friends tell me.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
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