Physics 513, Autumn Quarter 2018

Prof. Leslie J Rosenberg, Department of Physics, University of Washington

General information:
Physics 513, the first course in graduate electrodynamics
Lectures are Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:20 in the Physics & Astronomy Building (A-wing), room A114
Textbook: J.D. Jackson, "Classical Electrodynamics," third edition

Course Instructor:
Prof. Leslie J Rosenberg
Office: Physics & Astronomy Building, room C503
Office Hours: Physics & Astronomy Building, C503, Tuesdays: 12:30am or by appointment
Telephone: (206) 221-5856

Alexander Ditter (head grader)
Jared Canright

Useful Information:

Recent course news:

Lecture Instructor's Comments

Welcome to Physics 513, the first of a three-quarter sequence of graduate classical electrodynamics. I hope you find this course challenging and stimulating. The topic of electrodynamics is crucial for understanding the underpinnings of the physical and biological sciences. It's also crucial for modern technology. You will need a working knowledge of Jackson chapters 1-16 in order to converse sensibly with your colleagues. Regarding the course: We will use Jackson's text "Classical Electrodynamics". You might want more details than found in Jackson, or perhaps you'd like an alternative approach. In which case you might want to look at Panofsky and Phillips "Classical Electricity and Magnetism". Two very good, very readable, books for some slightly more formal aspects of the classical field theory are Landau and Lifshitz "The Classical Theory of Fields" and "Electrodynamics of Continuous Media". Another nice thing about Landau and Lifshitz is halfway through "Theory of Fields" you're on to General Relativity rather seamlessly. A slightly more elementary alternate text is Slater and Frank "Electromagnetism". Most homework problems, and indeed the problems in most texts, are adapted from Smythe "Static and Dynamic Electricity", a challenging text. There is no perfect text, and every text has gems scattered throughout. Mathematical methods are interspersed throughout the course as needed. For a math refresher, you could refer to Dennery and Krzywicki "Mathematics for Physicists". That said, this quarter we will follow Jackson's text somewhat closely.

Syllabus The syllabus for 513 starts with chapter 1 in Jackson. We'll then follow the text in more or less the text ordering. We will supplement Jackson's presentation with added material. See above for the readings and lectures. You should try to read the relevant text and added material before class; this will take time but there's a big payoff in your understanding.

Grading 40% of your grade is assigned to the midterm exam, 40% to the comprehensive final exam, 20% to the homework. It is very rare for me to assign a grade less than 3.0, usually this flags a student not turning in credible problem sets or missing exams.

  • Midterm and final exams: There will be one midterm exam and a final exam. Exams are to be your own work; you are not permitted to collaborate with any other person. The Physics Department reserves the right to ask for valid identification from any student during examinations.
  • Note that there are no make-up exams or make-up homeworks. Students with outside professional, service, or career commitments (i.e. military service, professional conference presentation, etc.) conflicting exactly with the exam dates must contact the instructor early in the quarter to establish alternate procedures. Students who miss an exam or homework due to illness should contact the instructor as soon as you are able to discuss alternate procedures. Except for debilitating illness, students who miss an exam or homework without making prior arrangements with the lecture instructor will get a zero for that score. Except for illness and circumstances noted above, a final grade of 0.0 may be assigned to any student who misses a midterm exam and a final grade of 0.0 will be assigned to any student who misses the final exam.
  • Re-grades: If you believe that points on an exam or homework were incorrectly totaled or if there's a gross error in the grading, you may submit an exam or homework for regrading. To do so, you must resubmit the exam or homework to the instructor no later than at the beginning of the lecture following the one in which it was returned. You must write a brief note on a separate piece of paper explaining the possible error in the grading, and staple this note to the front of the exam or homework pages when you submit them for re-grading. Do not make *any* changes or marks on any pages of the exam or homework. A request for a regrade may result in re-grading of the entire exam or homework. Therefore your total score may increase or decrease.
  • Homework:
  • Lecture homework will generally be assigned and collected weekly. You'll usually turn in homework on the due-day at the beginning of class. You may also leave the homework in the instructor's mailbox in the Physics Department Main office by 10:45am on the due-day. Late homework receives zero points. Note that not all the homework problems will be graded. If you start working on the homework the day before it's due, you will not finish on time. The graders will look for neatness and logic of presentation, points will be deducted for lack of either. Words help in explaining your solution. I strongly encourage you to work collaboratively, but your submitted work must be your own.
  • The lecture instructor and graders will ignore re-grading requests that are not reported promptly.
  • Communication:
  • For administrative issues, it's best to contact me via email. But, for physics questions, please don't use email (unless they are of the "yes/no" variety). Physics is best discussed at my office hours. You are welcome to come by outside my office hours, but please don't be offended if I'm too busy to talk.