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Electricity and Magnetism (Berkeley Physics Course, Vol. 2) 2nd Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0070049086
ISBN-10: 0070049084
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The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.
"The Grid" by Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.
Charting the history of our electrical grid, Bakke helps us see what we all take for granted, shows it as central to our culture and identity as a people, and reveals it to be the linchpin in our aspirations for a clean energy future. Learn more
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 506 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math; 2 edition (August 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070049084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070049086
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on October 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Having used this book in college 24 years ago, I believe it remains the best overall introductory text book. It is written to truly give you understanding of the subject. In comparison, Halliday and Resnick, Feynman's notes, Jackson's (three of my favorite books) are respectively trying to teach engineering, provide insight, or impart mathematical rigor. Overall Purcell is not as original as Feynman but is a more complete and integrated coverage suitable for someone who wants to understand physics. It is not an engineering book so the problems are for thinking--really makes you think deeply about how the world is constructed. To solve lots of practical problems use H & R. Jackson is mainly useful to rounds out a few corners once you know the subject. I personally think it is the best intro book although the usual 10-12 weeks quarter or semester devoted to the teaching of this material is insufficient to really allow the subject to sink in--I'd take 3-4 weeks out over the summer and study this one subject alone before going to college. This will be extremely rewarding.
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Format: Hardcover
This book must have been a work of love. The reader of it who fails to fall in love with electromagnetism would better change his direction of study, as he will not find anything better, including the marvellous Feynman's "Lectures on Physics". Following a more-or-less historical approach, except for the early use of relativity, the author strives to get the results from a full understanding of the physical situation. This is obtained by the use of very clever intuitive models. After that comes the mathematics, rendered natural and welcome. An outstanding example is the treatment of polarization of a dielectric sphere, where most of the physics is derived from a drawing! Another feature, to be found only in books written by great physicists, is the ability of stretching the argument up to its limit, getting results we wouldn't think possible with so little formalism. Problems are extremely good and real. The drawings, done by the author himself (so I read some! where) are very beautiful and helpful. Some of the exercises are of numerical character, motivating the use of computers. After meeting this book I could never teach introductory electromagnetism from another text. The author, Edward Purcell, is a Nobel prize winner who discovered, among many other things, nuclear magnetic resonance.
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Format: Hardcover
Edward Purcell shared the Nobel Prize in 1952, for his work on the discovery of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR, the basis of the politically renamed MRI). This book was written in the 1960's as part of the Sputnick induced panic which saw a great investment on the part of the US government in building up the domestic scientific educational infrastructure. Along with Reif's classic, "Statistical & Thermal Physics", this survives as a legacy of that era. Certainly, no one can contest the authority of the author. Nor can they claim that the book is out of date, as the laws of Electromagnetism have remained relatively constant. But this book is more than that, it is very well written and the clearest explanation of the phenomena of E&M, unified through the development of Maxwell's Equations, which is accessible to lower division students. For that reason it has dominated introductory honors classes in that niche for four decades. The typical inadequately prepared freshman/sophomore tends to find this book frustrating due to their lack of facility with vectors and multidimensional calculus. In fact, better prepared students will find this a perfect opportunity to develop familiarity with the application of basic vector calculus. While the book is elementary, it is rigorous.
The text begins by introducing the basic ideas of electrostatics from the discovery of Coulomb's Law to its elegant formation by Gauss vis a vis the Divergence Theorem, developing the notion of the Electric Field and the Electric Potential function as simplifying mechanisms for applying Coulomb's Law. It then introduces the corresponding observations and principles for Magnetostatics.
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Format: Hardcover
Purcell gives an excellent treatise on electricity in magnetism in this text, and in an unusual way. Often in a freshman or junior undergrad level course the students are taught about electrostatics first, then magnetism as a separate entity, and only later in some chapter near the end of the book (if it indeed is included at all) does the author show how magnetism arises simply via a relativistic transformation of moving charges. However, Purcell introduces this concept shortly after he discusses electrostatics and BEFORE he introduces magnetism, which is very important. He then continues on in the book without throwing aside relativity as a special topic, introducing the force tensor for an electromagnetic field in chapter 9 when he discusses Maxwell's equations.
However, I wasn't very pleased with the amount of problems that were offered at the end of each chapter (15-30) and the fact that only very few have answers, making it very hard for the student trying to teach themselves the physics to test whether or not he's doing the problem correctly. But it takes little away from the text in a classroom setting, and I recommend it for advanced freshman or for a regular junior-level one semester course.
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