Spring 2006 Lecture: MWF 10:00 - 10:50 AM , PandA 184 Daniel Finley
  (P451-056) Problem Session: Wedn.: 3:30 - 4:20 PM , PandA 5  
Maxwell (1831-1879)

Introduction to the Class

This is the beginning semester of a general introduction to electric and magnetic phenomena, and their interactions.

The phenomena involved are best described by what are now referred to as Maxwell's equations,
a set of 8 equations relating 2 vector fields, and , and their sources and .

The goal of the course is to eventually understand why this is true, and how it came to be that all these relationships,
originally determined by other people, came to have this name.

This semester we will principally study how the two fields behave individually, under static conditions,
     while next semester we will see how they combine, so that the subject is properly referred to as electromagnetism.

Click on this link for a current version of the class syllabus .
It will be added to from time to time, as noted there, so please look at it regularly.

Office: Physics & Astronomy Bldg., 800 Yale Boulevard, Room 168
Telephone:     277-8799 ;     email:
Office Hours:
The class has a Teaching Assistant, Pavel Sladek,
who will also be available for discussions and/or questions, holding office hours in the department lobby, on Wednesday afternoons beginning at 2 pm.
You may also send him email by clicking here, suggesting a time and place for you to meet with him.
Texts:     Introduction to Electrodynamics,    David J. Griffiths;      we intend to cover the first 7 chapters this semester.
    div, grad, curl and all that,    h. m. schey;      a supplemental book for the essential vector calculus of the title.
However, it is important that you begin to learn how to read from more than one source.
  Therefore I have appended a website that lists several other plausible sources of material concerning electromagnetism.
The first several in the list are on reserve loan in the department office, and may be checked out for 2-hour periods or overnight.
There will be assigned readings in them from time to time.
There will be three examinations, homework assignments due on Mondays and Fridays, at the time of the (beginning of the) class.
As well, there will be a comprehensive final examination.
The examinations will be given during the time for the problem session of that day.

  • The problem session, P. 451-056, is designated as optional, but I urge you to take it.
    It will be very useful for help with the problems, and especially with mathematical difficulties that you may have.
    Also note that the examinations are given at this time, on those 3 days when we have exams.
    A list of the problems used in the Problem Sessions is provided here.

  • Assigned Homework will be very important in your process of learning the material being discussed. Therefore, it will count 20% of your final course grade. Each of the exams will also constitute 20%, plus yet another 20% for the Final Exam, for a total of 100%. [You must take the Final Exam.]
    Solutions to the homework may be accessed from links on the assignment pages as they become available.

    Direct links are here to go to the listing of homework assignments.

    1. homework sets I,   preparing for the first exam;
    2. homework sets II,   preparing for the second exam;
    3. homework sets III,   preparing for the third Exam.
    4. homework sets IV,   preparing for the fourth/final Exam.
    Links to the solutions are provided on the homework assignment pages.

    Links to various additional comments or computer modelling, appended to the class:

    Below you will find various weblinks to things happening in physics and astronomy.

    Links to Exciting Physics News

    Updated as I find time.

  • latest values of the constants in physics
  • An index for pictures of famous physicists is at this location.
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      Last updated/modified: 10 February, 2006

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