P541 Electromagnetic Theory I

                              Syllabus , Spring 2015


Instructor:    Prof. Elbio Dagotto, edagotto@utk.edu, office room 302

            (in front of elevator, third floor), South College building.


          Form for the students to fill the first day can be found here


Text:    Classical Electrodynamics” by J. D. Jackson, third edition, John

             Wiley & Sons editors.  This is a book considered “difficult’” but

             it is widely used in most Physics Departments for this type of classes.

             E&M from Jackson is a “traditional’’ obstacle that Physics students

             must take and survive.


             We will attempt to cover the first 11 chapters of Jackson’s book.

             In practice, perhaps we will only cover 9 or 10 of them. My preference

             is that you learn deeply a few topics, than superficially many.


             Near the end of the semester, some of the lectures on radiation will

             be given following “Introduction to Electrodynamics”, third edition,

             by David J. Griffiths,. This book is excellent and can provide a solid

             foundation for our course since there is a substantial overlap with

             Jackson, but does not cover all the topics we need.


             You may also need a table of functions and table of integrals (such

              as “Table of Integrals,  Series, and Products”, fifth edition,

              I. S. Gradshteyn et al., editors, Academic Press) to solve some

              of the homework problems. Or just find integrals via Google

              or using Mathematica. This class is about physics, not math, thus

              solving integrals should not be our focus.


              Some of the items to be covered are from sources other than

              Jackson or Griffiths. In these cases, I will provide suitable URLs

              to lean the topics or hand-written scanned noted in a PDF.


Lectures:      Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:40 to 10:55. Please arrive on time.

                      The room is Physics 306. The lectures will appear in the web

                      page after being delivered, but I encourage that you also take

                      notes to understand better the context of the discussions.


                During lectures you can ask for any clarification you wish, or even

                any other question as long as it is related to the topic under discussion.

                But if the question is “off topic” I will postpone the answer to later.


Math level:    If you have passed a mathematical course about vector calculus,

                       and if you know the basics of second order differential equations

                       then you have sufficient background for this class.


                       In this link you can find a PDF with vector calculus mathematics

                       if you need a review. Or just read the topic from the introductory

                       chapters of Griffiths.


Office hours:  Mondays 2:15 to 3:15. Many students prefer email consultation:

             you can send emails with comments/questions at any time. You can

             also scan formulas that you may struggle with and send them to me as a PDF.


Schedule:       First lecture:  Thursday January 8th.      

                      Last lecture:  Thursday April 23th.        

                      Total number of lectures: 29.

                      Spring break:  M-F March 16 – 20.

                      Final exam: take home exam given to you the last week of class.

                      The official 2014-2015 calendar of UT can be found here.


Web page:     http://sces.phys.utk.edu/~dagotto/electromag/index2015.htm


Homework:   Due on Thursday at the beginning of class, following assignment

                      on previous Thursday. The assignments will be listed in the web

                      page. The homework will be graded by a grader and return to you.

                      Each problem set will be graded on a scale from 0 to 10.

                     The homework grade will be normalized to 40 points at the end

                      of the semester. Solutions to all homework problems will be

                      available in the webpage after the deadline.


                      I will be very reluctant to accept excuses for returning the

                      homework late, since you will always be given a full week of

                      time. But if a real emergency arises, I will understand.


                     In the early stages of setting up the solution of a HW problem,

                     I encourage discussion among students. Often you only need a quick

                     tip to start. But then it is expected that you solve all the problems



                     It is crucial that you present the homework, as well as the exams,

                     in a well-organized manner, with framed results, sufficient detail for

                     the intermediate steps,  and a discussion of any assumption you

                     may be making along the path towards the solution.

                     Prepare sketches by hand of the results you found, i.e.

                     analyze if the solution makes sense via special cases, such

                     as asymptotic behaviors. No need to save paper!


                     Some problems will be of the form “Read the following URL”.

                     These are reading problems that supplement the material

                     learned in the lectures. While I cannot be sure that you did

                     read the assignment, it would be unfortunate that you miss

                     the chance to learn more about the subject of our class.


Grader:       Our grader this semester will be Nitin Kaushal.

                     Office hours will be Tuesdays 3:45 PM from 4:45 PM (or other

                     times by special appointment). Grader’s room number is Room 301

                     of the South College Building, and email is kaushalnitin002@gmail.com  .


Exams:      There will be two “midterm” take-home exams. You will be notified

                   at least one week in advance of the precise day when the midterms

                   will be given. I will deliver one less lecture per exam, to free some

                   time for you to work on the exam and to allow for consultation if needed.


                   There will be a final exam, in a “take-home exam” format.


                   The problem exams will be similar to the HW problems. Thus,

                   I advice that instead of trying to solve additional problems of Jackson

                   (a difficult task even for the professor) that you instead focus

                   on understanding deeply the HW problems and the problems

                    explained in the lectures. In your solutions provide sufficient

                   detail, as recommended for the HW.


Grading:       50 points for exams (15 each midterm, 20 final);

                      40 points for homework; 10 for class participation.



More than E&M:


                    Besides E&M, this class is also about preparing you for the future.

                    Clicking here you can find the list of top 10 qualities that

                    employers look for in new college graduates. Items 4 and 7 read


                    4. The ability to think clearly about complex problems.

                    7. The ability to be creative and innovative in solving problems.


                    By studying E&M from Jackson you will be sharpening these

                    qualities. Even item 3


                    3. The ability to write and speak well.


                   will be further developed during the writing of the homework

                   problems and specially the three exams.