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Features a clear, accessible treatment of the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory. Its lean and focused approach employs numerous examples and problems. Carefully discusses subtle or difficult points. Contains numerous, relevant problems within the book in addition to end of each chapter problems and answers.
-- I have visited this review three times now. I wrote it as an undergraduate, edited as a graduate student, and now I'm editing it again as a professional with a little more experience. After reading through this review I fear that an instructor, searching Amazon for a text for the upcoming academic year, might think that I am recommending Jackson over Griffiths for an undergraduate course. Heck no. Griffiths is the best book you will find on the subject for an undergraduate junior/senior level textbook. It is a must have text for students new to the field, as it is well written, quite readable, and worth keeping. The text speaks to the student, not the instructor. While you, as the instructor, might know that there is a lot more to the field than is covered in this text, you must set that aside and realize that this book is the best for your students who are still learning. This book is a foundation that will give them the experience and confidence to eventually tackle more difficult texts like Jackson (though I still wonder if anyone could possibly master that text). My original review follows. --
I orignially wrote a review for this book as an undergraduate. In that review, I credited Griffiths with a knack for presenting information in a clever and entertaining way. I still believe this is true. At the time, I also said that Griffiths included precise and complete examples. Looking back, I no longer believe this is true.
When I first started using this book, I was under the impression that Griffiths had discovered a method in the way of writing textbooks that was totally superior to all other authors of similar background.Read more ›
I have taught from Griffiths' Introduction to Electrodynamics twice now. It is a very good book. The selection of topics is good, and the mathematics is clear. The prose is enjoyable. A few problems follow each section. These problems need the material just covered. The end of the chapter problems can be very challenging. This distribution of problems is very helpful. There are useful references to American Journal of Physics. Time with Griffiths is very well spent. Here are a few flaws. The first half of the book is much more complete. Perhaps, Griffiths became weary after chapter 7. There are indications. Figures and references are fewer. Surprisingly, the third edition did not correct this imbalance. It is essentially the second edition with some renumbering of sections and problems (making the second edition less valuable as a used book). An even bigger surprise is that in the third edition some examples became problems! The text is often too brief. If you want the full text of subtle arguments, go to Purcell. Compare, for example, the two discussions of the average field, or the two discussions on multipole expansions. A more striking difference between Purcell and Griffiths is the special relativity connection. In Purcell it is the heart of the discussion of magnetism. With just the transformation of forces between frames, magnetism appears. In Griffiths it is the last chapter. Griffiths is very formal with superscripts and subscripts unleased in full force. The book (like Jackson) is often a vehicle to teach mathematical physics. There is very little real life electricity and magnetism in Griffiths, e.g. no bubble jet printers in electrostatics, no magnetic tape in magnetism. We need to look elsewhere for practical matters.
This introductory book on Electrodynamics is one of the coolest and informal books I have ever read in my student life. I have used the book as an undergraduate and I still use it even now in my post-graduate study. The physical insights offered by the author in almost all the chapters are invaluable and interesting.Problems in Electrodynamics can be mathematically very demanding, but the book stands on it's own feet and the mathematical background required to use the book is more or less sufficient. The exercises are well thought-out /collected,but a major source of irritation is the lack of solutions or even answers for that matter. Dr Griffiths should understand that an elementary treatise such as this is used by a good proportion of the student community (who do not always have contact with a good teacher) for self-study. Such students need someone to hold his hands and be led into such an interesting area of classical physics. Moreover, when Landau can offer offer solutions to the problems in his Course of Theoretical Physics, Dr Griffiths shouldn't mind giving hints and solutions to the problems. If the author doesn't want to share the solutions in the textbook, a solutions manual should be sold in the market. However, a solution manual is available,from the publishers, but only for teachers who should be able to solve the problems on their own. Even many teachers have privately admitted the problems are beyond their capacity without suitable hints. So, how can the author expect students to solve most of the problems on their own? I have seen many students not following the book, precisely due to lack of solutions , and due to that I can only give four stars out of five. Also, the author needs to dispense with the idea of introducing new concepts in the exercises. But if one forgets that, I would say, the book is surely raccommended to beginners and a good book to start with before graduating to Jackson.
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