Oberlin College Physics 411

Syllabus for Fall 2021

Learning goals: Through your work in this course, you will

Aldo Leopold wrote "We speak glibly of ... education, but what do we mean by it? If we mean indoctrination, then let us be reminded that it is just as easy to indoctrinate with fallacies as with facts. If we mean to teach the capacity for independent judgment, then I am appalled by the magnitude of the task." The ultimate goal of this course (and, I hope, of all your other courses) is to develop your capacity for thoughtful, informed, independent judgment.

Teacher: Dan Styer, Wright 215, 440-775-8183, Dan.Styer@oberlin.edu
home telephone 440-281-1348 (9:00 am to 8:00 pm only).

Course web site: http://www.oberlin.edu/physics/dstyer/Electrodynamics. I will post handouts, problem assignments, and model solutions here.

Textbook: David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, fourth edition (2012).

The course topics are pretty simple: We'll start with Griffiths chapter 7, Electrodynamics, and work our way through the book from there! I'll just say that regardless of what happens, we'll fit in some Relativistic Electrodynamics, because I love this subject so dearly.

Collaboration and references: I encourage you to collaborate or to seek printed help in working the problems, but the final write-up must be entirely your own: you may not copy word for word or equation for equation. When you do obtain outside help you must acknowledge it. (E.g. "By integrating Griffiths equation [5.96] I find that..." or "Employing the substitution u = sin(x) (suggested by Carol Hall)..." or even "In working these problems I benefited from discussions with Mike Fisher and Jim Newton.") Such an acknowledgment will never lower your grade; it is required as a simple matter of intellectual fairness.


David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, fourth edition [QC680.G74 2013]

Mark A. Heald and Jerry B. Marion, Classical Electromagnetic Radiation [QC661.H43 1995]

William C. Elmore and Mark A. Heald, Physics of Waves [531.33El64P]

Davison E. Soper, Classical Field Theory [QC174.45.S65 2008]