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Classical Electrodynamics

On-Line Textbook
"Electromagnetic Field Theory"
by Bo Thidé

NEW REVISED AND EXPANDED 2ND EDITION

Work in progress!
Book cover

The Electromagnetic Field Theory Textbook

Welcome! You have just found the World-Wide Web site for our advanced electrodynamics Internet textbook project. Please feel free to browse around. On these pages we present a modern, high-quality on-line textbook on advanced electrodynamics, entitled Electromagnetic Field Theory, free for anybody to download and to contribute to.

Written with the advanced undergraduate or graduate student in mind, Electromagnetic Field Theory is a textbook on the theory of electrodynamics, at roughly the same level as the well-known textbooks by Jackson and Panofsky&Phillips. The book is written mainly from a classical field theoretical point of view, emphasising fundamental and subtle properties of the EM field and includes a comprehensive appendix on the mathematical methods used. It treats relativistic covariance and the Lagrangian/Hamiltionan formulation of electromagnetic field theory, with an eye on modern ideas of symmetries, duality and unification of theories, and includes a rigorous, comprehensive and detailed treatment of EM radiation phenomena and some elements of semiclassical quantum electrodynamics. The book does not treat the elementary and technological aspects of electromagnetism to any significant degree since these matters are already covered in intermediate-level textbooks such as Roald K. Wangsness, Electromagnetic Fields, John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0471859125 (1987) which should be studied before Electromagnetic Field Theory.

Electromagnetic Field Theory is intended as an Internet source which is freely available to physics students, at the advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level, and research workers anywhere. The first edition of Electromagnetic Field Theory is being used in higher education at several universitites in Europe, Asia and the Americas. It is hoped that the second edition should find even wider use in Academia.

The material presented in Electromagnetic Field Theory is based on the author's lecture notes, developed over a fifteen year period, during which he has given the course Classical Electrodynamics almost annually for fourth-year Master degree students in engineering physics at the Uppsala School of Engineering, for third year physics students and for doctor degree students at the Uppsala Graduate Programme in Physics at Uppsala University and at a few other acadmeic institutions in Sweden and elsewhere.

A companion book with exercises (electrodynamics problems with solutions) is available for free download too.

Likewise, a large set of solved final exam problems (all in English) for a course based on Electromagnetic Field Theory are available for free download.

Conditions for Free Download

The complete, current second editon of Electromagnetic Field Theory (about 250 printed pages) is available on line. You are welcome to download the current version of the book, free of charge, under the following conditions:

  1. No part of the material may be included in any other publication of any kind, be it in paper, electronic, or any other form, except verbatim in the form as provided by the author on these pages and with full reference to the book Electromagnetic Field Theory.
  2. You as a reader will provide feedback by pointing out errors, giving suggestions for improvments, criticism etc.
  3. The person or organisation who downloads the book will use it, or any form of copies of the material in the book, only for educational purposes and will not charge anything for making use of the book in any way, not even costs associated with making copies of it or handling/distributing it (such as costs for photocopying, paper, ink, toner, magnetic or optical storage media, electricity, telephone, network usage, consultant fees or other labour costs, postage, electronic transfer costs etc).
  4. In short: Electromagnetic Field Theory is supposed to be absolutely free for any student, scientist or scholar anywhere in the world and nobody is supposed to charge money (not even to cover own expenses) for redistributing it!

If you provide your e-mail address, I will put you on a mailing list for announcement of the release of new versions of the book.

Download Here

If you accept conditions 1-4 above, you may download the current version of the book in any or all of the following formats:

  • Adobe Portable Document Format (file extent .pdf).

The files are provided both in uncompressed form as well as compressed with

  • The zip compression tool (additional file extent .zip)
  • The GNU gzip compression tool (additional file extent .gz)
  • The bzip2 compression tool (additional file extent .bz2).

The current draft version (second edition) was uploaded Tuesday, 02-Sep-2014 22:01:51 METDST. Download it here:

The previous version (first edition) can be downloaded here:

Published Version

Electromagnetic Field Theory, 2nd Ed. is also being published as an ordinary book (on paper) by Dover Publications. See, e.g., Amazon.

Formats and Feedback

Electromagnetic Field Theory is typeset in LaTeX2e. Any suggestions regarding either the contents or the form of the book are welcome - and expected - from you. Remember that this is intended to be a book that should be able to serve as a general Internet resource and be of such a quality and scope that it can be used in higher university education anywhere.

It is the author's hope that this freely available textbook will be particularly useful for students and researchers working under financial or other circumstances that make it difficult to procure a book of this kind. Please mail your comments on the book and the project.

Comments and Reviews of the Book

Professor Gerard 't Hooft, 1999 Nobel laureate in Physics, has put together a web site "How to become a good theoretical physicist" on which he recommends Electromagnetic Field Theory for reading.

Professor John G. Learned, world renowned astro-particle physicist at University of Hawaii, has commented on Electromagnetic Field Theory in the following way:
"...I have just discovered your marvelous website and downloaded everything to read carefully, think about, and see what we can incorporate in our course... What a wonderful service you have done! I know how much work such a task involves, and want to send you a fan letter. Indeed, should you need support letters, please do not hesitate to ask... your selfless efforts in this regard are worthy of recognition. How wonderful it would be if others in the physics business would emulate your example and make such materials available, and help each other to improve them in a collegial way. Best wishes from Hawaii, and thanks for all the physicists out there!"

The Textbook Revolution writes:
"Here's another very well done physics book, in English but written by a Swedish physicist. Available in a variety of formats and zipped versions, with an email list for updates, free for anyone to use if they meet certain conditions. The PDF version mirrored here is hyperlinked throughout, so if the author mentions equation 2.5, you can link right to it. Very nice and highly recommended."

Other comments: "Thank you for online posting your Electrodynamics textbook. I was impressed by its simplicity, directness, and elegance" (Mark V. Iverson, PhD); "I just reviewed the second edition of your online electrodynamics text. This book is simply amazing, the rigor of Jackson with exquisite conceptual clarity" (Lowell Hanson, PhD).

Other CED Internet Books

Christoph Schiller has made parts of his marvelous books on physics, including classical electrodynamics, available for download.