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Classical electrodynamics. 3rd ed. (English) Zbl 0920.00012

New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. xxi, 808 p. (1999).
This is the 3rd edition of a book, the first (1963) edition of which has been reviewed earlier (Zbl 0114.42903). The 2nd ed. was published in 1974. Consequently perhaps the best thing to do is to concentrate on the changes which have been made in the book. Basically, the first two thirds of the book consist of a classical treatment of electromagnetic theory, about a sixth with special relativity, and the remaining sixth with a mixed bag of topics. The chapter in the first edition on magnetohydrodynamics and plasma physics has been omitted and a number of topics have been moved from one chapter to another and no reference will be made to these.
The first part of the book (eleven chapters) on electrostatics, magnetostatics and consequences of Maxwell’s equations have been emerged considerably by the inclusion of a number of new topics such as ponderable media, relaxation methods, finite elements, perturbation of boundary conditions and sources in wave guides. In addition, there has been a great increase in the number of problems at the end of each chapter. The next chapter in the book, on relativity, has received considerable rewriting. Amongst the topics not previously covered are the formulation of the Lorentz transformation in terms of infinitesimal generators, and the development of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian for an electromagnetic field, together with a treatment of the mechanical manifestations of electromagnetic fields such as momentum, angular momentum and stress. The remaining chapters deal with topics such as the Cherenkov effect, collisions of charged particles, radiation by moving charges, bremsstrahlung and such like. There is also a discussion of undulators and wigglers in connection with the behaviour of synchrotrons. Amongst other changes are the use of the end pages to give a number of useful formulae of vector analysis, and there is an appendix treating of the ideas of units and dimensions.
What of the book as a whole? The author has, as he points out in the preface, changed the system of units used in the first part of the book to the SI system, and, in some ways, it is a pity that the opportunity was not taken to do this over the whole of the book, certainly the chapters dealing with relativity. Here are still a number of topics which one feels could well have been included although, possibly, their inclusion would make the book too long. Amonst these are Tellegen media, semiconductors, and some variational principles associated with wave guides. There are one or two detailed points. Referring to the previous review, the Klein-Nishina formula have now become nameless and the 1938 Ives-Stilwell experiment remains without a reference. Each chapter contains a list of references and suggested reading but unfortunately they do not all appear in the bibliography at the end, neither do the references in the footnotes.
Nevertheless, as stated in the earlier review of the first edition, the good qualities of a book outweight the minor faults, and there are a number of topics such as, for example, the questions of magnetic monopoles and of causality which are rarely discussed in textbooks of electromagnetic theory.
Once again the printing and appearance of the book are excellent and the publishers are to be thanked and congratulated for producing a book of over 800 pages for such a reasonable price. The statement made in the previous review still holds. “It can be recommended most strongly and should be read by all who profess an interest in electromagnetic theory”.

MSC:

00A79 Physics
78-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to optics and electromagnetic theory
83-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to relativity and gravitational theory

Citations:

Zbl 0114.42903
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