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# Course Description

In this year's course we will cover the following basic topics:

• Very rapid review of Maxwell's equations, wave equation for EM potentials, Green's functions for the wave and Helmholtz equations, magnetic monopoles. You should all know this already, but it never hurts to go over Maxwell's equations again...
• Plane waves and wave guides. Polarization, propagating modes. (Jackson chapters 7 and 8). This year (fall 2007) Ronen tells me that he got through about the first half of chapter 7, but we'll probably review this quickly for completeness.
• Radiating systems and multipolar radiation (Jackson chapter 9). We will cover this material thoroughly. We'll do lots of really hard problems for homework and you'll all just hate it. But it'll be soooo good for you. The new edition of Jackson no longer covers multipoles in two places, but its treatment of vector harmonics is still quite inadequate. We will add a significant amount of material here and go beyond Jackson alone. We may do a tiny bit of material from the beginning of chapter 10 (scattering) - just enough to understand e.g. blue skies and polarization, and perhaps to learn of the existence of e.g. critical opalescence. We will not cover diffraction, apertures, etc. as those are more appropriate to a course in optics.
• Relativity (Jackson chapters 11 and 12). We will do a fairly complete job of at lease special relativity that will hopefully complement the treatments some of you have had or are having in other courses, but those of you who have lived in a Euclidean world all your lives need not be afraid. Yes, I'll continue to beat you to death with problems. It's so easy. Five or six should take you days.
• Radiation by moving charges (Jacksom chapters 14 and 16). Basically, this uses the Green's functions deduced during our discussion of relativity to show that accelerated charges radiate, and that as they do so a somewhat mysterious "self-force" is exerted that damps the motion of the particle. This is important, because the (experimental) observation that bound charges (which SHOULD be accelerating) don't radiate leads to the collapse of classical physics and the logical necessity of quantum physics.
• Miscellaneous (Jackson chapters 10, 13, 15). As noted above, we may look a bit at sections here and there in this, but frankly we won't have time to complete the agenda above as it is without working very hard. Stuff in these chapters you'll likely have to learn on your own as you need it.

Next: Basis of Grade Up: Syllabus and Course Rules Previous: Useful Texts and Web   Contents
Robert G. Brown 2007-12-28