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Principles of Electrodynamics (Dover Books on Physics)
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Top Customer Reviews
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"!
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.
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.
Very few words are wasted, and the careful reader can really master the field of electrodynamics with this book. Little prerequisite knowledge is assumed; probably multivariable calculus (with vector analysis) and introductory newtonian mechanics are all that are absolutely needed. One possible exception is that the discussion on special relativity is a little hard to follow if you have never had any exposure to it before. Thus, I would suggest having a good grasp of SR, especially including four-vectors (and ideally four-tensors) if possible before undertaking this book. One definite criticism I had of this book is its use of imaginary numbers in the definition of Minkowski four-vectors. Although this was Minkowski's original idea, it is virtually universally abandoned (as it should be) in every treatment of general relativity; because of this, almost all modern books on GR abandon its use in SR. It is too bad that it is used here, but this is really my only criticism of an otherwise near perfect book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has phenomenal problem sets, but unfortunately no solutions. Overall I find it a more enjoyable (and MUCH cheaper) read that Griffth's E&M. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent book, offers a unique approach to electrodynamics. Undergraduates interested in a non traditional development on this subject should definitely check it out. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jaime Fernandez
This is one of those great and inexpensive Dover books, it is definitely a book taylored for physicists, its not a beginners book, rather an advanced EM book heavily based on... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ssound
Dover books offer a great wealth of knowledge in a tiny package! This one in particular facinated me, even though I only was able to skim through it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mike Collins
I took 2 courses from Dr. Schwartz while he was at Columbia University. His presentation is crystal clear and demonstrates well his skill as a teacher. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Robert A. DiGiacinto
Amazon's product description says that the intended audience is undergraduates as well as graduate students. I believe this is incorrect. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Yogi
You can get deep understanding with quite low price. I already have some electrodynamics books though, each book has their own 'pros and con's, I'm satisfied with this book. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Doohee Lee