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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aha
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...
Published on 11 May 2009 by J. M. Greenwood

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations
A good chapter on electric fields. The chapter on magnetic fields was poor in my view. Basic field equations were not derived and I am surprised when any text book uses symbols which they do not actually define.
A useful book apart from this criticism.

The author contacted me subsequently and asked me to give an example of an omision; he had tried to...
Published 24 months ago by monk_man


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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aha, 11 May 2009
By 
J. M. Greenwood (Bromley, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
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
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D. C. Taylor (Coventry England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
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.

D.C.Taylor
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable complement to any electromagnetism text, 4 Aug 2009
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This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
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
This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pete B, 1 Nov 2008
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Mr. Peter Broadbent (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
I bought this book primarily out of interest and with a view of getting a better understanding of this difficult subject - generally surrounding the concepts and the mathematics involved. The author breaks down each of maxwell's equation, explaining each part and then giving examples to back up the theory. This is not for beginners but would help undergraduate students in Physics or Electrical/Electronic Engineering. It does a great job!
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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
By 
P. Watson "Just Phil" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Comprehensive - definetly one to study., 19 Mar 2011
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This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
Excellent book, well laid out and with good supplementary material on a backup website.
Dan Fleisch is to be congratulated on providing a learning source that delivers what it says it will deliver.
Decision to keep book small, to reduce cost also to be applauded.
If you need to know about Maxwell's Equations then this is definitely for you.

I got a lot out of it. Thanks Dan.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to clarity, 21 April 2009
By 
Gandalf Saxe - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
I bought this book in preparation for our just initiated course on Electrodynamics (using Griffith's book). I had two weeks to read it before the course started, which turned out to be a very comfortable amount of time, and it can probably be done in less time depending on how many problems you want to work.

This book is exactly what I expected and more; truly a students guide. It's not supposed to be a full textbook but rather either a primer or a refresher. I respectfully disagree with Mr. E. Mamane, whom wanted it to be longer, because it's length is exactly right for it's purpose in my opinion.

The explanations are clear and the author really seems to put himself into the role of an experienced and resourceful teacher who is trying to teach a difficult subject to curious student. He does what every physics teacher should do; he EXPLAINS the math and the physics, makes analogies and explains several concepts from several different angles before moving on. He also just goes into detail with interpreting every formula and every concept so that it physically and logically makes sense. The book delves into the mathematical equations and explains, interprets and justify every factor and every term in the equations. In other words the author makes sure that it all makes sense. It's good to see once in a while that many things that are just implied and being taken for granted in most math and physics books are actually discussed in great detail. Mathematical physics for a physicist's point of view is two-sided: There is the pure math, the calculation and the theorems, which of course is very important for the ability to formulate all the matter, develop the mathematical tools, and for the practical work of reaching a result. But then there is the logic and the physical interpretation which is essential to the understanding and thereby the memorizing.

And speaking of memorizing the author also offers podcasts to each chapter and sub-chapter of the books. They are all suitable in length (about 3-5 minutes on average for each subject), making it beneficial the listen through all of his podcasts as well, thus receiving the whole thing twice by different media and senses. Last there are also solutions and hints for all of the problems in the book, which is ideal for this kind of self-teaching guide.

In addition to learning the physics, this book is also an excellent introduction to vector calculus because you obtain a very good and intuitive understanding of divergence and curl. I didn't really get what it was all about in our past course on vector calculus and I'm now convinced that they should introduce the physics first the way Daniel Fleisch is doing it and with it the math and then the rigorous proof-based math, not the other way around.

With this book I feel that I have learned a large amount of material with a high quality of understanding for a minimal amount of time invested.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a primer or refresher on the subject of electromagnetic theory and Maxwell's equations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step by Step approach with clear explanations, 18 Jan 2011
This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
The author has orgaised the material in a lucid step by step approach explaining each concept and it's underlying physical basis with a clear description of the mathematics used to describe it. The author writes clearly and concisely and avoids unexplained jargon. Will suit anyone with a basic understanding of high school maths and physics. It's a pleasure to read and digest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To understand Maxwell's Equations, 4 Jan 2011
By 
This review is from: A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations (Paperback)
It is doubtful if Maxwell's equations have ever been so clearly explained as in this book - even James Clerk Maxwell himself would
probably have understood his own work even more had this book been available to him in the 1860s!
Each of the equations is dissected in detail and certainly when they are dealt with in differential notation involving "divs" and "curls" there is a full explanation. The main prerequisite mathematical knowledge is an understanding of "A" level vectors and
differentiation/integration.
The full solutions to the problems are available on the Internet - an added bonus.
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A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations
A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations by Daniel Fleisch (Paperback - 10 Jan 2008)
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