# Textbooks to be used as references for classical electromagnetism

SergioPL
Summary:: I need to add references for several classical electromagnetism concepts, I would like to know which books deal with these concepts.

Recently a paper about classical electromagnetism that I had submitted was rejected, among other reasons because it contained many references to Wikipedia and it was stated that "citations to Wikipedia do not qualify any scientific result to be correct and true".

I had been using Wikipedia as my main source of information on many topics and the results found there have shown to be correct and consistent, however, it seems I need to reference an article or a textbook to have valid references, that is the reason I am asking for books explaining these topics:
• Abraham Lorentz force
• Larmor formula
• Poynting theorem
• Maxwell stress tensor
• Electromagnetic energy-stress tensor
• Lienard-Wiechert potentials
• Electromagnetic field transformation (boost)

Any help will be appreciated.

Sergio

Staff Emeritus
You need to do one extra step. At the bottom of every Wikipedia article is a number of references. Footnotes in the text point to the reference. You should read the references and cite them.

I use Wikipedia citations in PF Insights articles because the intended audience has no access to professional journals. But if I submitted a paper to a journal, I must meet the standards of that journal.

scottdave and SergioPL
Gold Member
If your writing a paper for publication with references from Wikipedia, you should get your papers rejected out of hand. Your list has some significant topics and if you are not conversant with at least the accepted textbooks in that area, I'd be highly suspect of your knowledge to even write a paper for publication.

Staff Emeritus
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If your writing a paper for publication with references from Wikipedia, you should get your papers rejected out of hand. Your list has some significant topics and if you are not conversant with at least the accepted textbooks in that area, I'd be highly suspect of your knowledge to even write a paper for publication.
Let me boldface and underscore this. How do you know your paper is new and novel (or even correct) if you are not familiar with at least the basic literature on the topic? Never mind the actual front-line research ...

I had been using Wikipedia as my main source of information on many topics and the results found there have shown to be correct and consistent, ...
<<Emphasis added>> (1) How have they been shown to be correct and consistent? (2) By whom have they been shown to be correct and consistent?

SergioPL
You need to do one extra step. At the bottom of every Wikipedia article is a number of references. Footnotes in the text point to the reference. You should read the references and cite them.

Thank you for this advice, I will read some references for each topic.

SergioPL
How have they been shown to be correct and consistent? (2) By whom have they been shown to be correct and consistent?
From my experience, the formulas from Wikipedia, except very rare cases, are correct and lead to coherent results when linking them together. I also check the formulas and contents in other materials on the internet or in textbooks before taking a formula for valid, that is how I trust in what Wikipedia says. I cannot be 100% sure but neither I can be 100% sure about what is said in a textbook.

I like from Wikipedia that most of the articles are concise, it is a single source of truth and everything is connected.

edguy99 and weirdoguy
SergioPL
If your writing a paper for publication with references from Wikipedia, you should get your papers rejected out of hand. Your list has some significant topics and if you are not conversant with at least the accepted textbooks in that area, I'd be highly suspect of your knowledge to even write a paper for publication.

Dr Transport,

I must admit I have learned in a quite irregular way, I understand that reading some remarkable book on the area would give me some insights and help me to consolidate my knowledge, maybe it can make me see that there is an error in my ideas or they are simply pointless. Could you recommend me some book?

Gold Member
Could you recommend me some book?

So what is your education level before we start this exercise?

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
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From my experience, the formulas from Wikipedia, except very rare cases, are correct and lead to coherent results when linking them together. I also check the formulas and contents in other materials on the internet or in textbooks before taking a formula for valid, that is how I trust in what Wikipedia says. I cannot be 100% sure but neither I can be 100% sure about what is said in a textbook.

I like from Wikipedia that most of the articles are concise, it is a single source of truth and everything is connected.
You are fooling yourself with this assumption. The danger of Wikipedia is that basic articles generally are quite accurate. This lulls you into this kind of assumption that it is going to work well and be reliable also for more advanced topics. However, this is not always the case and Wikipedia on more advanced topics will contain things that are dubious at best. This is why it is a bad reference.

etotheipi, vanhees71 and SergioPL
SergioPL
So what is your education level before we start this exercise?
I am Telecommunications Engineer, then I have studied physics on my own.

SergioPL
You are fooling yourself with this assumption. The danger of Wikipedia is that basic articles generally are quite accurate. This lulls you into this kind of assumption that it is going to work well and be reliable also for more advanced topics. However, this is not always the case and Wikipedia on more advanced topics will contain things that are dubious at best. This is why it is a bad reference.
Your comment helps me to understand why in the academic circles people mistrust Wikipedia, I may have trusted too much on it.

Gold Member
I am Telecommunications Engineer, then I have studied physics on my own.

So I'm assuming that you have a semester or two of electromagnetics in an engineering discipline.

SergioPL
So I'm assuming that you have a semester or two of electromagnetics in an engineering discipline.
Yes, I did an electromagnetic semester and then other subjects closely related as Antennas and fiber optics.

Homework Helper
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2022 Award
Your comment helps me to understand why in the academic circles people mistrust Wikipedia, I may have trusted too much on it.
I would say it's not a matter of trust.

I use Wikipedia a lot - it's good for an insight into what things are. For example, you might want to know what is meant by the tensor product of Hilbert spaces. You'd get a good initial answer in Wikipedia.

But, Wikipedia can't be a reference for research level material. If I was trying to produce a research paper on Hilbert Spaces, I can't see I would be referencing Wikipedia, or undergraduate level textbooks. I would be referencing other research papers. And probably at best filling in an obscure, minor gap in the theory somewhere!

vanhees71
SergioPL
I would say it's not a matter of trust.

I use Wikipedia a lot - it's good for an insight into what things are. For example, you might want to know what is meant by the tensor product of Hilbert spaces. You'd get a good initial answer in Wikipedia.

But, Wikipedia can't be a reference for research level material. If I was trying to produce a research paper on Hilbert Spaces, I can't see I would be referencing Wikipedia, or undergraduate level textbooks. I would be referencing other research papers. And probably at best filling in an obscure, minor gap in the theory somewhere!

The idea is to reference specific articles on the topic being covered, right? I suppose these articles will contain the state of the art on that topic and not Wikipedia or textbooks. However, although it is necessary to read and reference these articles I have a doubt: should also well-known formulas as the Poynting vector or the Maxwell stress tensor be referenced? If so, should they be referenced from a textbook instead of referencing them from Wikipedia?

vanhees71
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The idea is to reference specific articles on the topic being covered, right? I suppose these articles will contain the state of the art on that topic and not Wikipedia or textbooks. However, although it is necessary to read and reference these articles I have a doubt: should also well-known formulas as the Poynting vector or the Maxwell stress tensor be referenced? If so, should they be referenced from a textbook instead of referencing them from Wikipedia?
If you are trying to publish research-level material, then you must know what research level material looks like - not least because you've been reading it.

Gold Member
an electromagnetic semester

Only a semester after a freshman sequence, barely any preparation at all for the subjects you are talking about.

I'd suggest starting with all of these, in this order:
Wangsness, Electromagnetic Fields,
Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics
Schwinger, Classical Electrodynamics.

Then you'll have a better idea of the subjects you mentioned in the original post.

I agree with the others, if you don't know these textbooks and have worked though them, the current state of the art won't really be accessible and you need a working knowledge of the current articles to be able to write anything new.

deskswirl, vanhees71 and SergioPL
SergioPL
Only a semester after a freshman sequence, barely any preparation at all for the subjects you are talking about.

I'd suggest starting with all of these, in this order:
Wangsness, Electromagnetic Fields,
Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics
Schwinger, Classical Electrodynamics.

Then you'll have a better idea of the subjects you mentioned in the original post.

I agree with the others, if you don't know these textbooks and have worked though them, the current state of the art won't really be accessible and you need a working knowledge of the current articles to be able to write anything new.

I will read these books to see what I can learn from them, I expect, though that many of the things explained will be familiar to me since I have dedicated a lot of time to learn about electromagnetism after the school, my learning process might have been a bit irregular but not unuseful.

Gold Member
Don't just read, DO THE PROBLEMS and a significant portion of them ($\gt 50\%)$

deskswirl, vanhees71 and PhDeezNutz
PhDeezNutz
Don't just read, DO THE PROBLEMS and a significant portion of them ($\gt 50\%)$

You've done more than 50% of the problems in Jackson? That is impressive. I mean, I've done more than 50% of the problems in Griffiths but doing 50% of the problems in Jackson...that's on a whole other level. I must tip my hat to you.

Might I add "Modern Electrodynamics" by Andrew Zangwill to that list. If you haven't checked it out, it is truly a treasure.

Edit: I've done 200+ problems in Griffiths that is quite a bit less than 50% but still significant in my opinion.

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Gold Member
You've done more than 50% of the problems in Jackson?

I suspect between two stints in graduate school, a "let's take graduate electrodynamics brain fart because my employerr will pay for it" and screwing around for s*** and giggles, I've done at least half of the problems in Jackson. Now, I will caveat it with, some of the later chapters I've only done 3-5, the early chapters, I can say, I've done maybe 90%.

PhDeezNutz
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Might I add "Modern Electrodynamics" by Andrew Zangwill to that list. If you haven't checked it out, it is truly a treasure.
It's a good book, but I don't understand the title. Why is it "Modern Electrodynamics"? Landau&Lifshitz vol. 2 is much older but also much more modern in its approach ("relativity first").

weirdoguy and PhDeezNutz
PhDeezNutz
It's a good book, but I don't understand the title. Why is it "Modern Electrodynamics"? Landau&Lifshitz vol. 2 is much older but also much more modern in its approach ("relativity first").

Yeah I don’t understand why it’s called “Modern” either.

Ishika_96_sparkles
Only a semester after a freshman sequence, barely any preparation at all for the subjects you are talking about.

I'd suggest starting with all of these, in this order:
Wangsness, Electromagnetic Fields,
Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics
Schwinger, Classical Electrodynamics.

Then you'll have a better idea of the subjects you mentioned in the original post.

I agree with the others, if you don't know these textbooks and have worked though them, the current state of the art won't really be accessible and you need a working knowledge of the current articles to be able to write anything new.

Why not suggest Griffiths (for physicists) and Sadiku's (more closer to Engineers) book as a starting point?

Gold Member
Why not suggest Griffiths (for physicists) and Sadiku's (more closer to Engineers) book as a starting point?

Because I am not impressed with Griffiths text, I like Wangsness's much more.

I have not ever read Sadiku's text, so I wouldn't recommend it.

Ishika_96_sparkles
Because I am not impressed with Griffiths text, I like Wangsness's much more.

I have not ever read Sadiku's text, so I wouldn't recommend it.

I learned from these two books for my bachelor exams. That's why i asked.

Searched for Wangsness' book on Amazon. It costs so much!
Why is this book so hard to get if its such a good book?
Don't get me wrong. I have read all the reviews on Amazon praising this book.
Is it more advanced than the Griffiths book or at the same level but different style?

Gold Member
Same level, different style. It has a better layout of subject matter, sets problems up correctly to get the correct answer, as opposed to Griffiths text. I had to use Griffiths text when I taught a course, I didn't like it at all.

It is out of print, that is why it is so expensive. The next time I teach an electromagnetics text, I'll use it and put out copies of the notes I need to use.

Ishika_96_sparkles
andresB
I have a doubt: should also well-known formulas as the Poynting vector or the Maxwell stress tensor be referenced? If so, should they be referenced from a textbook instead of referencing them from Wikipedia?

I would say that even if they are well known stuff, it is a good etiquette to establish from the beginning what notation you are using/following. You can say " we follow the notation used in [x] and write the stress tensor as ..."

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Homework Helper
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"
Might I add "Modern Electrodynamics" by Andrew Zangwill to that list. If you haven't checked it out, it is truly a treasure.
It's a good book, but I don't understand the title. Why is it "Modern Electrodynamics"? Landau&Lifshitz vol. 2 is much older but also much more modern in its approach ("relativity first"). "
How can a book that uses ict call itself 'modern'?

dextercioby
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2022 Award
You can ask as well: How can a book be called modern when it brings Hamliton's principle and Noether's theorems as the last chapter of a textbook about E&M?

It's not modern at all, precisely for the reason you give. Landau and Lifshitz is much more modern. I often wonder, why usually they don't use the "relativity first" approach. Relativity makes E&M so much simpler, because it's the natural way to fromulate it. One answer is that the curricula of universities often don't follow a modern order of subjects.

I'd also teach non-relativistic quantum mechanics before E&M, because then you have a natural approach to the most usual systems of orthogonal functions, particularly spherical harmonics and all that, which you then can use for the more complicated system of vector fields in E&M.

TurboDiesel
Gold Member
I'd also teach non-relativistic quantum mechanics before E&M, because then you have a natural approach to the most usual systems of orthogonal functions, particularly spherical harmonics and all that, which you then can use for the more complicated system of vector fields in E&M.

That's a good point, I never thought about that.

Staff Emeritus