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Using Griffith and Purcell

  • Thread starter mk9898
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello,

I've been researching textbooks to use for my first-year E&M course and since I have no previous knowledge of E&M, I've been reading University Physics by Young et al. and Serway's book. I am pretty annoyed at the verbosity of the texts and the banal exercises where most exercises are just plug-ins. On the other hand they have helped me understand some concepts but they just take too long to get to the point as if the reader is slow to understand.

The level of the E&M course is very high for a second semester which is also why I am stressing to keep up. My math is good enough I believe for Purcell and Griffith but I am curious if you think that a essentially beginner in the subject would profit from working with both books?

How are the exercises in the two texts? Are they challenging and beneficial to do? Meaning, after doing the problems should I be able to master the subject?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
atyy
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For Purcell, definitely yes, if you can do the problems, you have the subject at a very high level. First year classical physics misses out the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms, so you will still have to learn that in later years. I'm not so familiar with the problems in Griffiths, but from the few I have done, I should think they are also well worth working through.
 
  • #3
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I don't understand, your course is very challenging, and you're struggling to keep up, so why are you looking for a more advanced book?

Either way, Do Purcell, Griffths is usually used for an intermediate E+M course.
 
Last edited:
  • #4
jtbell
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I've been reading University Physics by Young et al. and Serway's book
Those are typical of the textbooks used for introductory physics in the US, except at some elite universities. Griffiths is typically used in upper-level undergraduate courses, usually 3rd or 4th year. Purcell's level is in-between, and IIRC it is in fact used as a first-year book at some schools. I seem to remember MIT uses it, but I'm not sure about it.

So if you want a more advanced book as a supplement, I would suggest Purcell rather than Griffiths. You might also try the Feynman Lectures on Physics which can be read online for free.
 
  • #5
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I would try Kip: Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism.

Alonso and Finn: Fundamental University Physics volume 2.
 

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