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Zangwill vs. Jackson

  1. Jul 7, 2014 #1

    WannabeNewton

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    Hi guys. Zangwill's book on advanced EM, https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Electrodynamics-Andrew-Zangwill/dp/0521896975, looks to be a masterfully pedagogical and extremely well-written book on the subject. It has tons of non-trivial worked examples and applications in every section of each chapter, is quite thorough with the subject matter, and works through calculations in detail.

    But can it actually be used as a substitute for Jackson? The topics covered in Zangwill, while covered thoroughly, do not seem to go beyond the topics usually covered in a typical undergraduate EM class. In my UG EM class we used Marion and Heald and covered almost all of the topics in Zangwill, the exception being we only did waveguides in passing whereas Zangwill goes into them in quite a bit of detail. Jackson on the other hand goes into much more advanced topics than Zangwill does, not the least of which is MHD.

    So are the reviews in the amazon page accurate as far as Zangwill being a replacement for Jackson goes or is it a lower-level/less advanced book than Jackson as I suspect? Zangwill claims to be a graduate book but the topics and level of coverage very much hinge on undergraduate at least at face value. Could anyone who has experience with the book offer their opinions? Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. Jul 8, 2014 #2

    vanhees71

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    I only have glanced over this book at a book stand on a conference. I had the impression it's a well-written but despite its promising title old-fashioned textbook. I don't understand, why one needs more of these, because there are already many excellent ones from the old masters like Hertz, Sommerfeld, Abraham/Becker/Sauter etc. Also Jackson is of this kind and still a masterpiece.

    What's very rare are books that present classical electromagnetism from a really modern perspective. The only one I know of, is Scheck's vol. 3 of his theory textbook series. Unfortunately it doesn't go far enough concerning applications, which are better covered in the more conventional textbooks. I don't know, what textbook to really recommend. Despite Jackson one should also have a look at Schwinger's book, which is also pretty much in the old-fashioned non-relativistic style but has a lot of wonderful mathematical tricks (e.g., the unconventional treatment of cylindrical Bessel functions is a joy to read).
     
  4. Jul 9, 2014 #3

    dextercioby

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    Scheck's book indeed kicks a$$. I recommend it.
     
  5. Jul 10, 2014 #4
    Why aren't you reading Jackson and Landau?
     
  6. Jul 14, 2014 #5
    I skimmed all the way through chapter 9. The book covers more-or-less the same material as Jackson. Some things I do notice is that some of the things Zangwill covers, Jackson leaves as an exercise. For example, Zangwill discusses Thompson's theorem, but Jackson just says "this is the theorem, prove it". The problems in Zangwill seem to be a mixture of hard undergraduate-type problems and some graduate level problems. Jackson is noticeably more difficult. I'd use this text as a supplement to Jackson.
     
  7. Jul 14, 2014 #6

    WannabeNewton

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    Thank you for the replies everyone. I should have mentioned that this is not intended for my use. A friend of mine wants to prepare for the first year graduate electrodynamics sequence before actually taking it and wanted me to help find a very solid book to work through meticulously; as a result I was trying to find the most pedagogical book on advanced undergrad/beginning graduate EM. I've already suffered through Jackson myself ;)

    I was really trying to avoid Jackson because, while it has very instructive problems, it has no pedagogical bone in its body. I find it impossible to learn from. I just find it to be a very valuable source of problems.

    I looked at Schwinger's book. While it is very mathematically focused, it looks to be a very instructive read. I might just keep it for myself. Thanks!

    I'll have to check it out for my own reading then :)

    I apologize for not being clear from the start; I think my comment above should more accurately put things in perspective. I will however say that I would rather lose both my arms than recommend Landau to a person who wants to learn EM.

    Thank you very much, that definitely helps. I think Jackson as a source of problems and Zangwill for actual reading will prove most useful.
     
  8. Jul 15, 2014 #7

    dextercioby

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    Just elaborate. :)
     
  9. Jul 15, 2014 #8

    atyy

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    Probably selfishly keeping it to himself :p
     
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