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What is good way to prepare for graduate Electromagnetism

  1. Nov 11, 2008 #1
    Hello everybody.
    I would like to ask anyone who have taken graduate electrodynamics with jackson.
    What do you think is the best way to prepare yourself to graduate electromagnetism by Jackson, if only electromagnetism by Griffith is covered during undergrad.
    In particular, what mathematical concepts one must be fammiliar and at what is good electromagnetism book to work with besides griffith.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2008 #2

    Dr Transport

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  4. Nov 11, 2008 #3

    Ben Niehoff

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    The above-mentioned book is useful.

    People bad-mouth Jackson's book a lot, but it's not really too bad (at least the electrostatics half). Basically, you will do the same sort of things you did in Griffith's, but with different geometries (and less symmetry). Once you understand the general idea of expanding Green's functions in terms of a basis appropriate to the geometry of your problem, you're good to go.
  5. Nov 12, 2008 #4
    If you have a chance, study tensor algebra independently before you take Jackson. Also, anything you can read on relativistic electromagnetism will help. If your mind is already use to thinking about electromagnetism in this way before you jump into Jackson, it will be much easier - you won't feel so much like you're stumbling in the dark.

    If you've had a decent two semester sequence with Griffiths, I'd consider that fair enough as far as undergraduate prep. Reviewing that material won't help a whole lot. At least it didn't for me.
  6. Nov 12, 2008 #5
    Any suggestions on good Tensor Algebra book?
  7. Nov 13, 2008 #6
    Certainly master all of Griffiths. Also, be extremely well prepared mathematically. Be a master of advanced calculus, vector calculus, ODE's PDE's Green's functions (V.important) and some complex analysis would help for some of the integrals.

    I've just completed a PhD and EM was by far the course that I found the most challenging. My advice, do not approach it lightly. :)
  8. Nov 13, 2008 #7
    Why tensor algebra? I really don't think this should be high up on your list of priorities.
  9. Nov 13, 2008 #8
    So tensors is not that critical.
    Any suggestions what book has the best treatment of greens functions as well as PDE?
  10. Nov 13, 2008 #9
    Our professor jumped right in to chapter 12 the first week of the semester. We started everything from a relativistic approach and there was a significant amount of tensor algebra for us. But perhaps it will be a completely different experience depending on the professor. For me, knowing the Griffiths material was of very very little help.
  11. Nov 14, 2008 #10
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  12. Apr 28, 2011 #11
    I also want to spend this summer preparing for Jacksons E&M.

    So if I took a 2-quarter sequence in E&M but I forgot ALOT of the stuff I learned in that class (also because I took part B during my busiest quarter so I didn't spend as much time studying for it as some of my other classes), so in what order should I study material? I've already bought the book, and skimmed through the first few chapters and am especially trying to get better with Green's functions. Quite some different opinions here regarding the importance of knowing Griffiths well. Based on the course description for graduate E&M at my upcoming school, they may not even cover any chapters beyond 1-10 in Jackson
  13. Apr 29, 2011 #12
    I am currently taking graduate E&M with Jackson this semester, and to be honest with you, I don't like how he presents the material. The instructor also has basically taken a few concepts from the book and explained them in her own ways, but aside from that we have not really used the book at all. We have actually used Griffiths more and expanded upon Griffiths. She said Jackson is a mathematics and physics professor, so the mathematician in him tends to expand on the mathematics of E&M too much instead of trying to explain the concepts more.
  14. Apr 29, 2011 #13
    I also agree very much with this statement. My UG degree is in math so I am well acquainted with these topics, but if you are weak on some of these materials, definitely review them before you get to Jackson. also review tensor calculus as I find myself now trying to review that while at the same time studying the electromagnetic field tensor.
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