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

Melvin Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Mar 2003 Dover Books on Physics
This advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level text by the 1988 Nobel Prize winner establishes the subject's mathematical background, reviews the principles of electrostatics, then introduces Einstein's special theory of relativity and applies it throughout the book in topics ranging from Gauss' theorem and Coulomb's law to electric and magnetic susceptibility.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; New edition edition (17 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486654931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486654935
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem 6 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The majority of textbooks on the market these days are hideously expensive. This book however is nice and cheap and very very well explained. Electrodynamics is a mathematical subject and this book makes each step clearly and cleanly explained. This should be on the bookshelves of every physics undergraduate.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
127 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like reading Physics from a Unified Point of View! 15 Sep 1999
By Pedro L. Ribeiro - Published on
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"!
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect introduction 3 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on
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!
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview of Electrodynamics 4 Mar 2011
By D Anderton - Published on
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.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buying for my students 4 April 2010
By Where's my order - Published on
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.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great physicist and entrepreneur writes on his passion 1 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on
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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