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PHYS 203B: Electricity and Magnetism
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About this course

Practical Information

Time and Place

Lectures: Mayer Hall A 2702, Tuesday and Thurssday 9:30 - 10:50
In reality: Zoom session for questions on material previously distributed
Problem Session: None (no student interest)


Homework assigned every 1-2 weeks
One mid term. Date will be advertised.
Final Exam: Take home, over weekend June 5-8
Grade will be a combination of 30% Final, 20% mid term, and 50% homework.

Office Hours

Prof. Grinstein: Thursday: 3:30pm, zoom (send request no later than 3pm)
Nathan Butcher (TA): Monday, Wednesday and Friday, zoom, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Office hours will end when no students are present, and last no longer than 1 hr
Additional office hours will be arranged upon request

Course Description

In some order: Radiation reaction, multipole radiation fields, electrostatics and magnetostatics in macroscopic media, electrodynamics in media. See more details under the proposed chapters below.


Classical Electromagnetism in a Nutshell, by Anupam Garg. Princeton U. Press

Homework and Exams

And Solutions
Instructions for uplaoding work are in canvas under syllabus (will not publish link here!)

Integrity Form

  • Integrity form you must sign and submit (by 2-digit code number) before 1st homework is due.


  1. Due 4/10 4pm (Solutions)
    Graded problems: #3 and #4.
  2. Due 4/20 11pm (Solutions)
    Graded problems: #1 and #2.
  3. Due 5/6 noon (Solutions)
    Graded problems: #1 and #4 .
  4. Due 5/28 9:00am (Solutions)
    Graded problems: #1 and #3.

Midterm and Final


  • Grades combined into a single table
Histogram of
		     Final Exam Grades Histogram of Course Grades


Course notes prepared by the instructor. If anyone wants to transfer them to LaTeX please get in touch with the instructor.

The link above is intended to have the collected lectures file. It should grow over time. Separate "chapters" will be posted first, below, and only from time to time combined into the collection above (so download individual chapters for most up to date notes).

Unit 1: Synchrotron Radiation.


Carryover form the end of PHYS 203A, from Fields from accelerated charges. Radiation from charges in circular motion; spectrum and agular distribution of intensity of radiation, periodic sources, Airy functions.

Unit2: Units.


Changing from SI to Gaussian. ... And back.

Unit 3: Radiation reaction and damping: classical electron theory.


Classical electron theory. Inconsistencies of classical electrodynamics. Radiation reaction. Classical line width.

Addendum to Unit 3: Self Field of Electron


Modern treatment of radiation reaction, preserving covariance.

Unit 4: Electrostatics


Review of electrostatics as an excuse to introduce multi-pole expansion and Spherical Harmonics. Boundary value problems: solve Laplace equation by separation of variables in Cartesian, Cylindrical and Spherical Coordinates. Multipole expansion: field ude to localized charge distribution. Localized charge in external fields.

Unit 5: Radiation Form Localized Sources


General expressions for radiation fields and differentail power distributions (spectral and angular). Types of sources. Long wavelength (non-relativistic) approximation and multipole expansion. Antennae.

Unit 6: Maxwell Equations in Media


Averaging out microscopic fields and current/charge densities. Constitutive relations, electric and magnetic susceptibility, permittivity, permeability. Energetics.

Unit 7:


Electrostatic energy. Capacitance. Methods for solving boundary value problems with conductors: method of images, variational method.

Unit 8: Electrostatics With Dielectrics


Boundary value problems with dielectrics. Thermodynamics with dielectrics. Models of dielectrics, rarefied gases and dense materials, non-polar and polar molecules.

Unit 9: Frequency Dependent Response of Materials


General properties of susceptibility. Drude model of conductivity and general properties of frequency dependent conductivity. Dielectric response function; Garg's "propensity". Electromagnetic energy in material media. Electronic response model of Drude, Kramers and Lorentz. Anomalous dispersion, wave propagation in dispersive media and another look at phase velocity and group group velocity, and introduce energy velocity. (Magnetic)permeability and optical frequencies.

Unit 10: Quasistatic Phenomena In Conductors


Quasistatic Fields, and simplification of Maxwell Equations in conductors. Boundary conditions at conductors. Diffusion equation. Qualitative solutions. Infinite plane conductor.

Free Textbooks from Geisel

For course textbook, go to Textbookabove.
There are many texts on Electrodynamics. You can read for free some that can be downloaded or at least viewed on-line: go to the Roger on the UCSD library web page, and search for keyword "electrodynamics" or the like and select "Electronic materials." You must be on the UCSD network to access these materials.
Here are some, with comments.
Note: the comments were originally intended for my personal use, to recallremind me what's in each of them.

Kurt Lechner

Classical Electrodynamics
A Modern Perspective

L.D. Landau and E.M. Lifshitz

The Classical Theory of Fields

Course of Theoretical Physics, Volume 2

J. David Jackson

Classical Electrodynamics

Francesco Lacava

Classical Electrodynamics: From Image Charges to ... Monopoles

Melvin Schwartz

Principles of Electrodynamics

Masud Chaichian, Ioan Merches, Daniel Radu and Anca Tureanu

An Intensive Course

Florian Scheck

Classical Field Theory
On Electrodynamics, ... and Gravitation

Prem K. Kythe

Handbook of Conformal Mappings and Applications

Ursula van Rienen

Numerical Methods in Computational Electrodynamics

Gerd Baumann

Mathematica® for Theoretical Physics, vol2: Electrodynamics, ...

Our Amazing Team

The Instructor, Teaching Assistant, Grader, Administrative Support

Benjamin Grinstein

Distinguished Professor of Physics

Nathan Butcher

Graduate Student

Hong-Ye Hu

Graduate Student

Prof. Grinstein is a Theoretical Physicist. His main research interests are in the areas of particle physics and cosmology. Learn more about his recent work on his website.
Brian is a graduate student in Physics doing research in theoretical condensed matter.
Dino is a graduate student in Physics whose main interest is in astronomy.

Contact The Team

Of course, students know how to contact "the team" anyway.