- 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: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Electricity and Magnetism (Berkeley Physics Course, Vol. 2) 2nd Edition
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The use of cgs units in this book is IMO a nuisance. Given the book's emphasis on relativity as a link between electricity and magnetism, it's nice to use a system in which E and B have the same units. However, I prefer to handle this by using SI units and writing Maxwell's equations with the coupling constants expressed as k and k/c^2, which makes the relativistic links almost as evident and allows a much easier connection with practical laboratory measurements.
The book is extremely old, and although Maxwell's equations haven't changed, some of the discussion of experimental evidence, e.g., bounds on the non-neutrality of the hydrogen atom, are many decades out of date.
The author gives good descriptions of the vector calculus needed for a study of electromagnetism. The divergence of a vector function, Gauss's theorem, the curl of a vector function, and Stoke's theorem are all treated in detail, with diagrams employed at every step to reinforce the student's intuition. It is very important at this level to make sure the student understand these concepts in depth, as it will make the learning and appreciation of differential forms much easier in later courses in physics. Too often, vector calculus is presented to physics students as a formal construction, and the use of pictures is eschewed. Thankfully this author has not chosen this approach.
In addition, in his discussion of the fields of moving charges, the author prepares the student for the special theory of relativity. An interesting thought experiment is given for illustrating the invariance of charge. A description is also given of the experiment of Henry Rowland, which in the 19th century detected the magnetic field of a charged rotating disk, thus supporting the theory of Maxwell. The Hall effect, of tremendous importance technologically, is described in detail. The famous "jumping ring" demonstration of Lenz's law is discussed also.
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.