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PHYS 203A: Electricity and Magnetism
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About this course

Practical Information

Time and Place

Lectures: Mayer Hall A 2702, Monday and Wednesday 11:00 - 12:20
Problem Session: Mayer Hall A 2702, Friday, 4pm


Homework assigned every 1-2 weeks
Two mid terms. Dates will be advertised.
Final Exam, in class: Monday 03/16/2020
Grade will be a combination of 62.5% Final, 25% mid term, and 12.5% homework (was 50% Final, 20% each mid term, 10% homework).

Office Hours

Prof. Grinstein: Monday & Friday: 2pm, Mayer Hall 5230
Brian Vermilyea (TA): Tuesday 4pm, Mayer Hall-A 5651
Office hours will continue until the earlier of 3pm (5pm For TA's) or all students leaving
Additional office hours will be arranged upon request

Course Description

From the UCSD course catalogue: A basic course in electromagnetism at the graduate level. Contents include special relativity, relativistic formulation of electrodynamics from the Principle of Least Action, electrostatics, magnetostatics, multipoles, waves, light, diffraction, and multipole radiation.

Homework and Exams

And Solutions


  1. Due January 17 (Solutions)
    Graded problems: #2 (10 points + 3 for bonus) and #3 (10 points). Total max = 20
  2. Due January 22 (Solutions)
    Graded problems: #2 (10 points)
  3. Due February 5 (Solutions)
  4. Due February 12 (Solutions)
  5. Due February 26 (Solutions)
  6. Due March 11 (Solutions)

Midterm and Final


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

Problem Session

Problems from the session, for review


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

Above is the collected lectures file. It will 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).

Chapter 1: Special Relativity and Mathematical review


Space-time. Rottaions as a prequel to Lorentz transformations. Differential calculus in curvilinear coordinates. Lorentz Transformations on space time, vectors, tensors, differential calculus in space-time.

Chapter 2: Field Theory


Maxwell’s equations from the Principle of Least Action for rela- tivistic particles and fields. Energy-momentum tensor; relativistic formulation of conservation laws, etc.

Chapter 3: Waves and Light


Physics of electromagnetic waves. Polarization. Interfaces between dielectrics. Propagation in waveguides. Eikonal theory and geometrical optics.

Chapter 4: Moving Charges


Fields of moving charges:
Liénard-Wiechert potential. Multipole radiation.

Appendix: Bessel Functions


Bessel functions of integral order, generating function. Bessel Equation. Applications to wave guides/cavities of circular cross section and to boundary value problems.

Free Textbooks from Geisel

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

Brian Vermilyea

Graduate Student

Dino Chih-Chun Hsu

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.