Physics 309b

Instructor: Stephen Boughn, Observatory, ext. 1146

Textbook: Introduction to Electrodynamics by David J. Griffiths

References: Several other electrodynamics texts will be placed on reserve in Stokes Library. These will include Electromagnetic Fields and Waves by Lorrain and Corson, which is comparable in level to your text, and Classical Electrodynamics by J. D. Jackson, which has been the standard introductory graduate text for years. Also on reserve is Electricity and Magnetism: Berkeley Series Volume 2 by Purcell for those who feel a bit rusty or would benefit from a somewhat lower-level treatment.

Course Description:

The format of this class will be a combination of lectures and workshops. Since not all the relevant material will be covered in the lectures, it is essential that the assigned reading be completed before coming to class. The textbook by Griffiths gives an excellent intermediate-level treatment of electrodynamics. It is well written in an informal style that lends itself well to self study. The classes will be of considerably diminished value to those who come unprepared. Several office hours will be scheduled. Many of these will become workshops during which students may work problems at the board. They are not mandatory. The tentative syllabus listed below is somewhat ambitious. With the exception of Special Relativity (Chapter 12), most of the material in the textbook will be covered during the semester. Even though we will skip several sections of the text, I urge you to read the entire book.

Homework and Exams:

Weekly homework will be assigned. Collaboration on homework problems is allowed (even encouraged) except when explicitly excluded. Late assignments will be penalized 1 point per day (weekends excluded). There will be two 1 1/2 hour midterm exams and a 3 hour, self-scheduled final exam. The approximate components of the final grade will be as follows:

Course Outline:

            Topic Reading
            Week 1 Math review; electric fields; Gauss’s Law Chapters 1 and 2
            Week 2 Electrostatic potential and energy; conductors Chapter 2
            Week 3 Boundary value problems Chapter 3
            Week 4 Boundary value problems, multipoles Chapter 3
            Week 5 Dielectric materials Chapter 4
            Week 6 Dielectric materials; magnetostatics Chapters 4 and 5
            Week 7 First midterm exam; magnetostatics Chapter 5
            Spring Break
            Week 8 Magnetic materials Chapter 6
            Week 9 Electromagnetic induction Chapter 7
            Week 10 Maxwell’s equations; the wave equation Chapters 7 and 8
            Week 11 Second midterm exam; electromagnetic waves Chapter 9
            Week 12 Waves in dielectrics and conductors Chapter 9
            Week 13 Dispersion; guided waves; Coulomb and Lorentz gauges Chapters 9 and 10
            Week 14 Generation of electromagnetic radiation Chapter 11