SYLLABUS PHYS-4303 FALL 2017

GENERAL

Physics 4303 provides students with

a broader knowledge of electromagnetism, going beyond 4202, including electromagnetic

wave propagation and related Special Relativity.

This course has recently been made mandatory for Physics majors

on the "graduate school" track, and is recommended for all

other majors. However, it is not yet mandatory for students

who began their major before this requirement was added.

This Syllabus includes important information about the course: students

are responsible for knowing its contents and should read it thoroughly.

PREREQUISITES

PHYS 4202 or its equivalent is obviously a prerequisite. Knowledge

of elementary Special Relativity at the level of PHYS 2503 is

also expected. It is desirable that students be familiar with Classical

and Quantum Mechanics at the 4-level, but this is not required.

Knowledge of mathematical techniques at the usual level

for an upper division Physics student is expected, including

Calculus, Linear Algebra and simple differential equations. Knowledge

of Fourier analysis would be very useful. Some more

advanced mathematics may be introduced in the course itself. Some

knowledge of programming (C++, Fortran) or symbolic (Mathlab, Mathematica...)

languages will be useful, but no sophistication in these things is expected.

Students contemplating taking the course who are not sure

they have the background, or who formally are lacking any

prerequisite should consult with the Instructor. Special permissions will be

very liberally granted to all willing to do some extra work.

HOMEWORK AND PROBLEM SOLVING

The homework is the fundamental tool you have to learn the problem solving

skills that you need to really understand Electromagnetism. Nobody ever learned Physics by talking about it. Basically

all of your grade (as you will see below) will be assigned based on

problem solving. If you think you understand the book and the lectures but

cannot solve the problems, then you do not really understand the material.

On the other hand, attempting to solve the problems will help you a lot

in reaching a true understanding of the material.

Homework will be assigned weekly every Monday, and be due one week after.

No late homework will be ever accepted. .

If illness or other valid reason prevents you from doing a set, an adjustment

will be made in the denominator of your homework percentage.

Sample solutions will be posted at the course

web site (see below). Homework will be graded.

You should feel free to work with other people on the homework, as an

informal group. You must hand in your own individual

solutions however, reflecting your own understanding of the problem, correct or not.

In group situations, make absolutely sure that you pull your

own weight and that you understand everything on your own terms. By the

same token, be ruthless to expel any freeloaders from the group, if there

should be any: you'll be doing them a favor in the long run. Remember that

ultimately your grade basically depends on your ability to solve problems

individually.

Attempting all the homework is so important that the grade formula for

the course, as explained below, makes it essentially mandatory. "Attempting"

is not at all the same as "solving correctly": it means trying to.

Handing in solutions copied from another person, or found in the web, would,

be, besides cheating, evidence of lack of interest

in learning, and of inability to keep minimum professional standards:

it would be dealt with accordingly with great severity.

The assigned homework is the minimum amount of practice exercises students

should do. All are encouraged to solve as many additional problems (from

the book or other sources) as possible.

LECTURES AND OFFICE HOURS

Lectures are MWF at 13:25 in room Tate B55. Attendance is recommended.

There are instructor office hours in Tate 130-25 on MW 2:15 to 3:15

and TA (Menxing Ye) office hours at the same time on Fridays, room Tate 201-03

TEXTBOOK AND OTHER BOOKS

The official textbook for the course is Griffiths, "Introduction

to Electrodynamics", fourth edition. You probably own a copy from 4202.

If you do not, buy one. If you are broke find a

used copy of a previous edition (but note that numbering of equations and

problems may be inconsistent). You should count on keeping this book

after the course, do not resell it: workers do not sell their good tools.

The textbook is deceptively thin: many steps are skipped (some of those

will be covered in the lectures) and students are expected to work them out on

their own: do so. You may find this difficult at first, but in the long run

it'll be good for you. The textbook will be followed relatively

closely, but not slavishly so. Examples as in the book, or

similar ones, will be discussed in class.

If you can, buy also another book for extra reference. No specific 'second

book' can be recommended for everybody. The rule is:

if you find yourself always borrowing the same book from a friend, or

the Library, because you like the explanations in that book better than

Griffith's, then you should buy your own copy.

There are many other Electromagnetism books; just do a google

search. They are of various levels

of difficulty. Jackson and Panofsky&Philips are graduate level. Saslow's

is more elementary than Griffiths and has many interesting insights.

Keep also handy your 2503 book in case you have to review

anything. The same goes for your math books. Also, you need to look

up integrals, series, or special function properties. Do not waste time

doing computations for which you can look up the answer. If you have access to

a symbolic package such as Mathematica, these are built-in. In hard copy, the

Gradshtein-Ryzhik "Tables" and the Abramowitz-Stegun "Handbook of special

functions" are the holy writ.

MATERIAL COVERED

We will cover Electromagnetism, Electromagnetic

wave propagation beyond PHYS 4002 and Special Relativity beyond 2503:

basically, the textbook after Chapter 7. We will do relativity earlier

than its place in the book. There will be a little more emphasis

than in the book on the properties of actual materials as opposed to

'in vacuum' electromagnetism.

Always read, before a lecture, the material in the book that you expect

will be covered in that lecture. You should expect to find some parts

too difficult to understand on your own: that's where you must pay

extra attention, and ask questions, during the next lecture. Take notes

in class and read and edit them within 24 hours: this transfers information

from your short-term memory to long-term.

Attending the lectures is not mandatory, but you are responsible for

all material covered in them, whether or not it is in the book.

EXAMS

There will be a one-hour midterm, now set for Wednesday Nov 1,

and a three-hour final on Dec 18, 8:30-11:30, a date and time

mandated by the University. A make up final will be given only in

the cases where it is strictly required by University rules. There will be no

midterm make up: students having a legitimate excuse as per University rules

will have the denominators of their exam percentage adjusted properly.

All exam questions will be problems, with a range of difficulty and

scope similar to that in the homework.

GRADES

The grades will be determined by two factors:

The regular portion of the grade, R, will be composed of: successful homework

solutions (30% weight), the midterm (30% weight) and the final (40%

weight). R is expressed as a percentage.

The second, participation, P, grade will be computed as

follows: 80% from the number of homework problems you have seriously

attempted (seriously attempted means you have handed in

a solution showing substantial work, even if your solution was 100% wrong)

and 20% from your class participation (asking questions etc) as judged by the

instructor. A diligent student should find it rather easy to get

a P near 100%.

The overall grade T is determined by the square root of P times R.

T=sqrt(R*P). This means for example, that a student getting P=1 (100%) which

is quite doable, and a regular "exams and homework" grade of 64% (a C

according to the formula below) would have

it transformed into 80% (a B/B+). Students

not attempting any homework are guaranteed an F.

Letter grades will be based on overall grade T with 5% intervals corresponding

to +/- increments, that is 15% increments corresponding to every letter.

Thus, you need 40% to get a D-, 55% to get C-, 70% to get B-, 85% to get A-.

This scheme awards A+ to students getting 95% or higher. The University, for

some bizarre reason, does not recognize the A+ grade, students earning one will

have a plain A in their official transcripts, but will receive a

congratulatory email from

the Instructor (which they can frame if they wish). Students

taking the course on an S/F basis must earn at least a C-, a D level grade

is not satisfactory.

INFORMATION

The web site of the course is at:

http://www.physics.umn.edu/courses/2017/fall/Phys 4303.001/index.html

Brief solutions to each homework set will be posted at the web site.

Other information about the course will be posted

there.

Students should periodically check the site, as they are responsible

for knowing the course announcements and other information posted.

OFFICIAL WARNING

No cheating or other unprofessional behavior will be tolerated. The minimum

penalty for cheating is an automatic F for the course. All cases will be

considered for whatever maximum the Supreme Court allows.

OTHER STUFF (LEGAL):

For anything not covered above, all relevant University Policies will be

followed. A very comprehensive index of such policies is at

http://www.policy.umn.edu