Physics 322: Electromagnetic Fields

Topics Covered

This class is intended to give students an introduction to the concepts and mathematics used to describe electromagnetic phenomena. Physics topics usually covered include:


  • Electrostatic fields capacitance
  • Multipole expansions
  • dielectric theory
  • magnetostatics
  • electromagnetic induction
  • magnetic properties of matter
  • Maxwell's equations and electromagnetic waves
  • relativity and electromagmetism.
In addition, the class introduces and uses the following mathematics:
  • Vector calculus, including the curl, div, the Laplacian, Stoke's and Gauss' theorems.
  • Fourier series solutions to partial differential equations
  • Special functions, including Legendre Polynomials, Bessel functions

Standard Texts

Foundations of Electromagnetic Theory, Reitz, Milford and Christie (1971). Introduction to Electrodynamics. D.J. Griffiths, Prentice Hall, 1999 (3rd ed.) Classical Electromagnetic Radiation, Heald and Marion,(3rd ed.) Electromagnetic Fields, Wangsness.


This course is an intermediate undergraduate level course in classical electromagnetic theory. The major topics for Physics 322 include electrostatics, magnetostatics, electromagnetic induction, and an introduction electromagnetic waves. The main goal of the class is to introduce the students to the language and mathematical techniques used for solving problems of electromagnetic theory; it also prepares the students for advanced coursework in the physics sequence including optics, statistical physics and quantum mechanics, and also for advanced topical classes such as plasma physics, condensed matter physics. This course is the first physics course in the undergraduate sequence to heavily use vector calculus for solving problems. As such, it is useful to have taken or be concurrently taking Math 321 and Math 322. This class also is the first time that partial differential equations (Laplace's Equation) are solved systematically. Traditionally, the course is taught with three lectures per week and a weekly problem session.
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