User Comments on Introduction to Electrodynamics (12)
We've completely solve one problem.
Just one word, "foot notes." The most interesting
things in this book are in the footnotes, at least it
seems that way. I enjoyed the book, hopefully
you will too.
A great read!
Griffiths is never dry, and his textbook makes a
great companion to my class. I personally hate
reading textbooks, but I always seem to
understand the material better with his teaching
style. It is a bit different from that of my
professor, so I get a well-rounded look at E&M.
And this isn't even the recommended textbook for
the class! (Although I'd recommend it to any
Griffiths kicks A**
Griffiths is the most unboring read ever. Consider
his introductory explanation of the electromotive
force, which for all intents and purposes could be
caused by "little ants with harnesses." Such
humorous images are painted in the minds eye
throughout a reading of any of Griffiths text. He
is also quite rigorous, with nice demonstrations
of the Hemholtz theorem and the use of curvilinear
coordinates. Get all of this guys books, he makes
texts that are not only informative, but
entertaining as well.
We used this text for our junior-level E&M class, and I really
enjoyed it. It's very readable and has a lot of good
examples. Griffiths is a great author and presents the
material in a clear and engaging way. This is my primary
E&M reference for undergrad problems.
I can only assume that the good comments are from students with great teachers. I DESPISE this book. It lacks depth. The failure to show where solutions come from drive me nuts. Concepts are difficult to grasp from this book. This is probably a great review book, but not good if you have to teach yourself from it. NOTATION is horrible too. Determining what the values in formulae represent are exceedingly unclear. Avoid this book at all costs!
I must say that I disagree.
I had this book for E&M1 the semester I was forced to leave school for 3 months due to illness.
And without being able to ask questions of fellow students or rely on a teacher for further explanation, I was able to work through all of the problem sets solely from using the book.
Now, when looking at a book you need to consider it both with regard to its reference capacity and your ability to teach yourself from it. The reference value of the book will be extremely helpful after the class, and your ability to teach yourself from it will be critically important during the class. Because of the nature of books which focus on teaching, the elucidation of intermediary steps can be quite tedious and decrease the reference value.
However, Griffiths does an excellent job, and is one of the few which does, of balancing these two needs, and I was, and remain, impressed with it.
I think what 'depth' may mean to you regards its teaching capacity and therefore whether it lists out every step in detail for many problems. What I think you will find is that this is very rare in higher level physics books. My personal pet peeve for this is Marion and Thornton's Classical Dynamics book, which though great for reference, is practically worthless for teaching yourself.
I have to agree with "Horrible." Perhaps the "great teacher" comment has merit, perhaps the student who disagreed w/"Horrible" is a brilliant exception (or perhaps, more likely, electromagnetic theory was very well covered in his introductory class). I used this text only for the second semester of this class (For the first I used "Electromagnetic Fields" - Wangsness). It may have been that the first text was better, or that the first teacher was better, or just switching texts mid-year was confusing, but I found "Introduction to Electrodynamics" simply awful. Yes, the footnotes were occasionally cute, but they did nothing to help me learn the material. The useful bits are scattered into metaphorical stew, lacking any meat and containing entirely too much salt.
Clear and Interesting
Griffiths explains the concepts clearly and in a logical development. This book really helped me understand and connect a lot of concepts in E&M I didn't have as firm a grasp on. The examples and the text in the book are fundamental and to the point making it easier to read. For those interested in learning more, many of the problems at the end of sections help explore ideas not fully developed within the text. Great book!
My Favorite Textbook
I'm one of those students who prefers to read the textbooks and learn alone from it late at night. Griffiths has been extremely helpful to me during both quarters of E&M. He has a way of starting from the basics to make sure no one is left behind before he even starts, but still manages to go into considerable depth. The examples are wonderful, best examples I've seen in a textbook. On top of all that, his dry sense of humor and interesting comments make the book more than enjoyable to read.
Get a solutions manual
Author: David Silvers
I've had different classes using this textbook taught by a theorist and an experimentalist. If you have a theorist for the teacher, you will definitely need a solutions manual to figure out the book problems. If you have an experimentalist, you'll only probably need the solutions manual to figure out the problems.
A good first step into "real" physics
Author: Christopher Faesi
When I first opened Griffiths's "Introduction to Electrodynamics" and flipped through it I was quite intimidated by the breadth of topics, the rigorous derivations, and the forays into necessary auxiliary mathematical techniques such as complex analysis and fourier series. I now realize that Griffiths only scratches the surface in terms of the true breadth of Electromagnetism, but a combination of this book and a great professor led to an excellent learning experience. Griffiths is thorough, explains his reasoning (most of the time), and the problems are challenging and educational. After completing a year long sequence of E&M, I definitely felt more prepared to enter other upper level physics classes.
Only ONE complaint so far...
Author: Logan Hancock
I may regret saying this now, but I've really enjoyed this textbook quite possibly more than any other in my college experience. He just seems to talk to the reader, giving you his complete thought process along the way.
My only complaint, however, is the binding on the third edition. The entirety of Chapters One and Two are completely unbound. And I think it's a fairly common complaint with the text.
Either way, I won't let a poor print job stand in the way of a great EM textbook.