Textbooks to be used as references for classical electromagnetism

In summary, the conversation revolves around the use of Wikipedia as a main source of information, particularly in regards to classical electromagnetism concepts. The speaker had been using Wikipedia but was told that it is not a reliable source for scientific papers. They are now seeking recommendations for textbooks on the topic. The other speaker emphasizes the importance of reading references and having a good understanding of the basic literature before writing a scientific paper. They also point out the potential dangers of relying solely on Wikipedia for more advanced topics. The conversation ends with the clarification that the speaker has a degree in Telecommunications Engineering and has studied physics independently.
  • #1
SergioPL
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3
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
 
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  • #2
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.
 
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  • #3
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.
 
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  • #4
Dr Transport said:
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 ...
 
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  • #5
SergioPL said:
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?
 
  • #6
anorlunda said:
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.
 
  • #7
CrysPhys said:
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.
 
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  • #8
Dr Transport said:
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?
 
  • #9
SergioPL said:
Could you recommend me some book?

So what is your education level before we start this exercise?
 
  • #10
SergioPL said:
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.
 
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  • #11
Dr Transport said:
So what is your education level before we start this exercise?
I am Telecommunications Engineer, then I have studied physics on my own.
 
  • #12
Orodruin said:
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.
 
  • #13
SergioPL said:
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.
 
  • #14
Dr Transport said:
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.
 
  • #15
SergioPL said:
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!
 
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  • #16
PeroK said:
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?
 
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  • #17
SergioPL said:
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.
 
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  • #18
SergioPL said:
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.
 
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  • #19
Dr Transport said:
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.
 
  • #20
Don't just read, DO THE PROBLEMS and a significant portion of them ([itex] \gt 50\%)[/itex]
 
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  • #21
Dr Transport said:
Don't just read, DO THE PROBLEMS and a significant portion of them ([itex] \gt 50\%)[/itex]

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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  • #22
PhDeezNutz said:
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%.
 
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  • #23
PhDeezNutz said:
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").
 
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  • #24
vanhees71 said:
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.
 
  • #25
Dr Transport said:
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?
 
  • #26
Ishika_96_sparkles said:
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.
 
  • #27
Dr Transport said:
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!
No preview on Google Books.
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?
 
  • #28
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.
 
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  • #29
SergioPL said:
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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  • #30
"
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'?
 
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  • #31
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.
 
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  • #32
vanhees71 said:
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.
 
  • #33
vanhees71 said:
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.
Well, there is nothing stopping you from reading about systems of orthogonal functions without studying quantum mechanics. They can be pretty useful in many other situations as well. In my program, the general theory of orthogonal functions is taught in a separate course. Examples include vibrating strings, pressure waves, diffusion, etc.
 
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  • #34
Sure, but usually you don't introduce operators and algebraic methods in a standard E&M course.
 
  • #35
what about Electromagnetic field theory by Bo Thiede
 

1. What are the best textbooks to use as references for classical electromagnetism?

The best textbooks for classical electromagnetism depend on the level and focus of the reader. Some popular choices include "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by David J. Griffiths, "Classical Electrodynamics" by John David Jackson, and "Electromagnetic Theory" by Julius Adams Stratton.

2. Can you recommend a textbook for beginners in classical electromagnetism?

For beginners, "Introduction to Electrodynamics" by David J. Griffiths is a highly recommended textbook. It provides a clear and intuitive introduction to the subject and includes many helpful examples and exercises.

3. Are there any textbooks that focus specifically on applications of classical electromagnetism?

Yes, there are several textbooks that focus on applications of classical electromagnetism, such as "Electromagnetic Fields and Waves" by Vladimir Rojansky and "Classical Electromagnetism in a Nutshell" by Anupam Garg. These books cover topics such as electromagnetic waves, transmission lines, and antennas.

4. Is there a textbook that includes both classical and modern aspects of electromagnetism?

Yes, "Electromagnetic Theory" by Julius Adams Stratton covers both classical and modern aspects of electromagnetism, including topics such as special relativity, quantum mechanics, and electromagnetic radiation.

5. Are there any textbooks that offer a more advanced treatment of classical electromagnetism?

For a more advanced treatment of classical electromagnetism, "Classical Electrodynamics" by John David Jackson is a widely used textbook. It covers advanced topics such as electromagnetic radiation, relativistic electrodynamics, and plasma physics.

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