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Principles of Electrodynamics (Dover Books on Physics) [Paperback]

Melvin Schwartz
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 1987 0486654931 978-0486654935

Unlike most textbooks on electromagnetic theory, which treat electricity, magnetism, Coulomb's law and Faraday's law as almost independent subjects within the framework of the theory, this well-written text takes a relativistic point of view in which electric and magnetic fields are really different aspects of the same physical quantity.
Suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, this volume offers a superb exposition of the essential unity of electromagnetism in its natural , relativistic framework while demonstrating the powerful constraint of relativistic invariance. It will be seen that all electromagnetism follows from electrostatics and from the requirement for the simplest laws allowable under the relativistic constraint. By means of these insights, the author hopes to encourage students to think about theories as yet undeveloped and to see this model as useful in other areas of physics.
After an introductory chapter establishing the mathematical background of the subject and a survey of some new mathematical ideas, the author reviews the principles of electrostatics. He then introduces Einstein's special theory of relativity and applies it throughout the rest of the book. Topics treated range from Gauss's theorem, Coulomb's law, the Faraday effect and Fresnel's equations to multiple expansion of the radiation field , interference and diffraction, waveguides and cavities and electric and magnetic susceptibility.
Carefully selected problems at the end of each chapter invite readers to test their grasp of the material. Professor Schwartz received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and has taught physics there and at Stanford University. He is perhaps best known for his experimental research in the field of high-energy physics and was a co-discoverer of the muon-type neutrino in 1962. He shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics with Leon M. Lederman and Jack Steinberger.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Physics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (October 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486654931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486654935
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like reading Physics from a Unified Point of View! September 14, 1999
Since I've first heard about electricity and magnetism, people always said me that the electric and the magnetic field are nothing less than two sides of the same coin. I really wasn't convinced of that. I've entered at college. Nothing. And I took a (pitiful) undergraduate course on Electromagnetism. Nothing. Not even the Maxwell Equations and the explanation about how they demonstrate the existence of EM waves convinced me. It always appeared that The electric and the magnetic field were two separated things, no matter how much relations between them. I tried even graduate books (say, Jackson), and nothing.
Then, Here comes the light... Schwartz' chapter about electric field and relativity, where he concludes merely from Coulomb law and Lorentz invariance that MUST BE A MAGNETIC FIELD, then comes with the EM Field Strength tensor and derives (also from Lorentz invariance)... the very Maxwell's equations! Unbelievable! Why didn't they tell me this before? Or, why don't they teach EM like this? All this not to mention the section about an insight over determining nuclear shape from electric quadrupole moments, the tensorial form of EM laws, Multipole expansion, all that with a remarkable physical insight that is so rare in EM texts (maybe other exception is Landau's Classical Theory of Fields). I only regret the absence of a Lagrangian-Hamiltonian formulation for EM, Green's functions, and gauge invariance with his properties and how this reflect in the formulation of EM laws. But I believe that these topics can be well covered in Landau's text (I really hope so, so I don't need to rely on the insight-less text from Jackson). After all, the physical unity, simplicity and beauty of Schwartz's book is nearly unbeatable. 5 stars "cum lauda"!
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect introduction January 2, 2000
By A Customer
This book is the best introduction to advanced electromagnetic theory I have ever encountered. The author does a masterly job at simplifying the mathematics without over-simplifying the physics. If you're looking to gain a deep understanding of electromagnetics and its relation to the theory of relativity, this book is for you!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview of Electrodynamics March 3, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book cover-to-cover a few years ago as a review of E&M theory. Overall, it was a good technical read. I will offer a few notes:

1. This is a Dover reprint of a classic text (circa 1972), but then again E&M theory is a lot older than that, so....
2. The book is a physics text--not an engineering text, so it is heavy on theory and light on applications. Don't expect to see any Smith charts. Coverage of transmission lines, wave-guides, etc., is nominal.
3. The book is heavy into vector calculus, so come with the requisite mathematical background.
4. The author isn't afraid of diving into some serious mathematical machinations. My favorite is the derivation of the plane-wave equation in Chapter 6--it runs on for five pages (in fine detail).
5. The book reads rather dry (yes, I know its a technical book--but it is dry even for a physics text). The only particularly memorable deviation from the classical theory was a description of the method used to search for magnetic monopoles in moon rocks (which was a hot topic in 1972--evidently).

For the modest price, this Dover reprint provides an economical volume for your home technical library. Regard it as a theoretical tome--not a 'how to' book.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Melvin Schwartz won the Nobel Prize of physics in 1988 by his experiments (with Leon Lederman and Jack Steinberger) on this most elusive of all physical objects, the neutrino. We must be grateful for the fact that he found time to write this precious little book on electrodynamics. It is a gem . I compare it to the very best expositions: Landau-Lifshitz's "Classical Theory of Fields" and the first chapter of the first edition of Heitler's "Quantum Theory of Radiation" .
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buying for my students April 4, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I took Freshman Physics from Schwartz at Stanford in 1975. I came across these reviews while trying to see if his book was still in print.

Schwartz was the clearest teacher I had in my career - and I had some great ones, Marty Perl, Ted Haensch, Mahiko Suzuki, John Whelan, Brian Pippard and Dave Jackson himself for Quantum Mechanics, all great and Schwartz was better. We figured out about week two that he was basing his freshman class on this book.

Schwartz said later that Steve Jobs audited this Freshman physics class. If so, Jobs did not stand out, we were too fascinated and terrified by Schwartz to notice the Apple founder in our midst.

If you know vector calculus and want to really understand E+M, read this book - there is not a wasted word in it.
I'm buying a 3rd copy to lend out to students.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally lucid. September 28, 2006
By Daverz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is somewhat famous for its heuristic derivation of the full Maxwell's equations using Lorentz invariance, but every topic is covered in an exceptionally lucid manner, on a par with Feynman at his best. The book is also a neccessary antidote for the excessive detail and overgeneralization of Jackson.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The theory of Maxwell-Einstein elegantly presented July 28, 1998
By A Customer
A beautiful book to wrap up your electrodynamics.Some time ago I read the lectures by Oppenheimer on Electrodynamics (based on notes taken by the student Bryce DeWitt...). I was fascinated by the perfect logic of the approach, which took full profit of relativistic invariance to shorten and clarify the whole theory. I wonder if the book by Melvin Schwartz took Oppenheimer's text as a model. It has the same elegance and logical structure, yet it is a little more leisurely written, being a textbook.It is, so, closer to perfection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Mass Materialed
Too much an unthoughtful bin jumbled mass of material dumped into this read to make it into an informative lead to future growth made it returnable.
Published 24 days ago by Jude
5.0 out of 5 stars classic text
This is an very good book, I could not have find an better derivation of Maxwell equations, Lienard-Wiechart potentials, and mostly it enhanced my understanding of partial... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jesse ren
2.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition is not good
I bought the kindle edition, and there are numerous errors in the formatting of equations.

'P' and rho are used interchangeably. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alex J. DeCaria
4.0 out of 5 stars Work to do for Amazon!
The book of Melvin Schwartz is well written and its is very nice that these type of books become available as ebook. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Herman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This book is great, came in very good conditions to be used. No screeches, written, highlighting, nice. Read more
Published 13 months ago by gustavo
5.0 out of 5 stars Pedagogically perfect !
A really marvelous book, indispensable for all those considering themselves good and skillful students in natural and/or technological sciences ...
Published 16 months ago by Jewgeni Starikow
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Readable with Relativity!
Professors always told me electromagnetic theory can come from relativity, but pretty much never talked about it. Even the textbooks reference it but do not go into much depth. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Maggie Essington
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of those older, wonderful Dover books
No one is forcing me or incentivizing me to re-study this topic. But I am happy to work on this material because the author is so skillful. Read more
Published 17 months ago by engineer
5.0 out of 5 stars I especially liked some proofs.
Well, nothing much can be said about such a very brief book. My professor suggested it as a reference, so I bought it. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ali
5.0 out of 5 stars I like it
Schwart's explanations are nice. I don't get bored reading this, and the theory is put in a very simple and summarized way.
Published 21 months ago by Guillermo
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