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A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations [Paperback]

Daniel Fleisch
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.99
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Book Description

10 Jan 2008 0521701473 978-0521701471 1
Gauss's law for electric fields, Gauss's law for magnetic fields, Faraday's law, and the Ampere–Maxwell law are four of the most influential equations in science. In this guide for students, each equation is the subject of an entire chapter, with detailed, plain-language explanations of the physical meaning of each symbol in the equation, for both the integral and differential forms. The final chapter shows how Maxwell's equations may be combined to produce the wave equation, the basis for the electromagnetic theory of light. This book is a wonderful resource for undergraduate and graduate courses in electromagnetism and electromagnetics. A website hosted by the author at www.cambridge.org/9780521701471 contains interactive solutions to every problem in the text as well as audio podcasts to walk students through each chapter.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (10 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521701473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521701471
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Professor Fleisch is a great scientific communicator.' electronicdesign.com

'… good examples and problems are given so the student can practice the skills being taught.' IEEE Microwave Magazine

'… its virtue … is to address, through judicious selection of material and masterful repetition of important facts, the needs of a student who finds lectures and textbooks hard to understand, too complex, and besides the point of doing the assigned problems. … Students who are struggling with the material will love the Guide. The Guide is a well-written, concise, honest tool that delivers just what it promises.' American Journal of Physics

Book Description

Maxwell's equations are four of the most influential equations in science. In this book, each equation is the subject of an entire chapter, making it a wonderful resource for undergraduate and graduate courses in electromagnetism and electromagnetics. Audio podcasts and solutions to the problems are available at www.cambridge.org/9780521701471.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aha 11 May 2009
Nearly 25 years have gone by since I acquired my venerable Archbishop of a Physics degree. How many lecture hours did I sit through watching professors scribble their mathematics in coloured chalks, `only' to learn how to manipulate theorems in order to find an answer? Did I get what Maxwell's equations were actually about? Alas no, not then. I do now.

My modest advice is to read and re-read this book, slowly. It isn't a traditional text book, more an explanatory pamphlet and all the more effective for it. It may feel slightly pedantic at times, a repeated format for each section, but there's method in the style. Fleisch wants you to get it too, and he waits for you to be up there with him. The book doesn't replace more traditional texts on electromagnetism, but it goes a long way to underpinning them. Undergraduate level vector analysis and calculus will help do the example calculations, but are by no means essential to grasp the physics behind the solutions.

I suspect I am not alone in confusing calculation with understanding. At the time I never really grasped the physics or the mathematics, and so was not great at either. This book remedies both omissions by explaining each clearly. Better late than never I guess; wonder if they'd let me have another crack at the electromagnetism paper.......

Why bother with it after so long? Curiosity maybe. If only we could whisper in our younger selves' ears; the language... the mirth... So it goes.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Students Guide to Maxwell's Equations 23 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book gives the clearest explanation of divergence and curl that I have ever encountered. I would recommend this book to any student of Physics or Electrical Engineering.

The podcasts on the associated website are extremely valuable as they emphasise the key points in the text.

All text books should be presented in this way.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I used this book to complement revision for 2 electromagnetism courses- a basic theory course and an advanced course on radio transmission principles.

Ordinary textbooks on electromagnetism face a pedagogic dilemma- too much electrostatics and magnetostatics can be boring and the Maxwell equations do not get enough space; too little and the physical foundations can be skimped on and hence obscured. This book gets around this by concentrating solely on the Maxwell equations and especially on the physical meaning of the integral formulation of the equations.

The text also has a really useful list of books for further reading: I would also recommend the MIT electrical science resources website and the Schaum outline book by Edminster; for a maths methods book that has a physical explanation of vector calculus , see ch 7 of Sokolnikoff & Redheffer; plus volume 2 of Feynman's lectures starts with vector calculus.

My only two reservations, really minor, are that: firstly, arrows above letters are used for 3-vectors whereas I was taught that they represent 4-vectors, whereas for a British audience and compatibility with UK texts, bold type for 3-vectors might be more familiar ; secondly, no mention is made of the magnetic vector potential so maybe, when a reprint is done, it could be included in an appendix.

However, this book is brilliant.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six stars 27 May 2009
I'd been searching for a good book on electromagnetism for a while now; however, everything that my university's library had to offer was poorly written and unclear. I bought this book in desperation for enlightenment on EM, specifically on Maxwell's equations.

This book does not disappoint. Every equation and piece of notation is broken down with startlingly clear explanations. Even the most difficult to define concepts (such as electric fields) are lucidly detailed.

Diagrams and summary tables of equations are put to good use, and key concepts are highlighted. Common pitfalls are brought to the fore, again with remarkable clarity, and with sufficient rigour to make everything understandable.

The publication is attractively presented, although it is solely in black and white. Although it weighs in at a brief 140 pages or so, no word is wasted.

For anyone studying a degree-level EM course, I wholeheartedly advocate Fleisch's book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gem! 24 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A complete gem. So often, so-called mathematical "teaching" texts are just mathematicians talking to other mathematicians or geniuses with nothing but pages of terse non-user-friendly proofs and theorems, most of which are impenetrable to many who might otherwise be capable of understanding the subject.

This book sets out to get you to understand the subject, not just regurgitate endless proofs. It is a real teacher helping real learners to understand. Every equation is fully explained and even annotated when necessary. Copious well thought out, clear diagrams and worked examples consistently get the messages through and demolish ambiguity.

To get the best out of this book, you will need a reasonable (not genuis-level) undestanding of multivariate calculus and vector calculus. I can't help feeling that this book represents the writing on the wall for the worst of the old-fashioned style of teaching text. I'm not aware of anythng else like it but I'm pretty sure there will soon be many more books like it. The most important proof this book provides is that Maths is not impenetrable but has simply been traditionally made impenetrable by those who can't or won't explain. This book shows clearly the difference between explanation and mere definitions and proofs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a good guide
at last a good explanation in clear language. just what i needed better than langrangians guide more of this sort is welcom
Published 2 months ago by B. Israel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant for Electromagnetism courses
Maxwell's equations can be quite difficult to grasp unless (unlike me) you are initially very comfortable with vector calculus. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gavin
5.0 out of 5 stars excelent book
very clear, with many details, the best I ever read on this subject.

It turns something usually considered dificult is something very simple.

Published 3 months ago by Paulo Lourenço
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Explanation
This little book opened doorways for me. As a biochemist I found it a very clear and practical exposition of the mathematics and physical reality that underlies so much of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Edward
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT!!!!
If I could describe this book in one word.. it would be epic. This book explains Maxwells equations to you like you are a half wit. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nanaki
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
A concise and comprehensive coverage of Electromagnetism. I use it to supplement my OU studies. I feel it is slightly overpriced
Published 4 months ago by Chandran Pushparatnam
5.0 out of 5 stars Good intro book for undergraduates
Good intro book for undergraduates struggling to come to terms with vector calculus.

I bought it out of interest... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dr G
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
At the risk of repeating what others have written, this short book is nothing short of outstanding. Every aspect of these equations is outlined, dismantled and explained, in a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mark Anson
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful addition for physics students
A good supplemental book for physics students as it provides a different explination to most university text books. Use the supporting website and download the audio for free.
Published 17 months ago by Chris.Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars Decipher the math
This book is a "Must Read" if you are an engineer dealing with something that propagates.
This book proves for me that NOTHING is difficult, it is just the way it is explained... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Chakir El Yattafti
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