Electromagnetic Theory

Instructor: Brian Collett, Science G070, bcollett@hamilton.edu

This course is a deeper exploration of the laws of electromagnetism and their implications for the behavior of electromagnetic radiation. It takes up where Physics 295 left off and develops more advanced techniques for solving problems. Our goal is a fully relativistic understanding of E&M.

The text for the course will be
Introduction to Electrodynamics, 4th Edition
David Griffiths

I expect that we will get through most of the material in the book and may even have chance to go beyond it in some ways.

My aim is to run the course a collaborative seminar with a mixture of class discussion of the days material and presentations, mostly by the students, of solutions or partial solutions to current homework problems. This will place a significant on the students to actively read the text and to consult with me on their assigned problems.


The grade for the course will be made of three portions. The largest portion will go to the homeworks which will be continuous. There will be new problems assigned most class days with some flexibility in when the problems are due. Many of the problems will first be assigned to individuals who will be expected to explore solutions and to present the results of their explorations to the class. The problems will then become common property and everyone will be expected to hand in their own solutions to the problems. As usual, collaboration on these regular homework problems is encouraged. However, this time I will be asking you to acknowledge the source of any particularly significant contributions to the problem solving process, though this will not affecting the homework grading. Note that the problems may come from a range of sources and may not be closely tied to the book.

The second portion of the grade will be based on class performance. You will each be responsible for preparing and presenting individual homework problems in class and this portion of the grade will be based on your thoroughness and clarity in these presentations and on your in-class contributions to the discussion. In addition, some recognition will given in this portion of the grade to the number of times your class-mates acknowledge your insights in the homework process.

The final portion of the grade will be based on special problems set from time to time that are to be completed alone and whose solutions are worked out with care in unusual detail. These will be essentially take-home exams and will happen about once per week. You will have to work these problems on your own rather than collaboratively. However, you will be able to seek help from me (though I may charge some small amount of points if I have to provide crucial help. This will only be a small cost, however, since I will value good final answers and clarity of expression above anything.)

Physics 480