# Electrodynamics

## Oberlin College Physics 411

## Syllabus for Fall 2021

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

- acquire a firm understanding of electrodynamics concepts including the Maxwell stress tensor, the Lienard-Wiechert potentials, and relativistic electrodynamics;
- see why humans communicate over long distances using electrodynamic processes (radio or optical fiber) rather than electrostatic processes;
- abstract from nature to build mathematical models;
- find exact or approximate solutions to those mathematical models;
- invest those solutions with meaning to uncover insights about nature; and
- broaden, deepen, and sharpen your physical and mathematical problem solving skills,
particularly as regards (1) vector calculus and (2) potentials.

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).

**Topics:**

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.

### Bibliography

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]