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Classical Electrodynamics for Undergraduates

AuthorJohn W. Norbury Entered2002-10-17 22:20:44 by bcrowell
Editedit data record FreedomCopyrighted, doesn't cost money to read, but otherwise not free (disclaimer)
SubjectQ.C - Physics
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strange order of topics; no figures
by Ben Crowell (crowell09 at stopspam.lightandmatter.com (change 09 to current year)) on 2002-10-18 22:54:31, review #207
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This book appears to be aimed at physics majors taking an upper-division course in electricity and magnetism. The order of topics is strange. The first chapter is on matrices, while the second chapter is on vectors. Why not vectors before matrices? The first half of the book is nothing but mathematics, and I doubt that it would work well except as a review. Maxwell's equations appear abruptly, with no real discussion of their physical meaning. There are no figures, and the book is unfinished -- the chapters on relativity and electromagnetic waves aren't written yet.

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More of an overview
by Ryan Scott on 2002-12-22 21:12:16, review #230
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At first, this seems to be a somewhat advanced exposition of electrodynamic fields, but it is highly flawed. First, the mathematics is not rigorously developed; but this is a physics text, so no real problem there. Then Maxwell's equations are stated as postulates, and this is simply not the way to do this. In any semi-advanced treatment on electromagnetics (static and dynamic), there must be mention of the fact that a field is completely described by its divergence and curl; in fact, one may derive Maxwell's equations from postulatory specifications of the divergence and curl of a vector. In any case, the author should have developed the equations using believable inductive reasoning in the form of discussing the experimental evidence, which helps the reader digest and logically break down Maxwell's equations in an intuitive fashion. However, there is some unique content contained within, and I do give the author credit for that, but they are mostly minor yet interesting details. If you want to learn electrodynamics, turn elsewhere. If you want to learn electrodynamics for free, I can help (just email me at triton at nospam.neo.tamu.edu).


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