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Physics 532: Classical Electrodynamics


Course Outline

Introduction: Course overview, electromagnetic units

Foundations of special relativity: Spacetime intervals, proper time, the Lorentz transformation, transformation of velocities, vectors and tensors in spacetime, four-velocity and four-acceleration

Relativistic dynamics: The principle of least action, momentum and energy, Lorentz invariance of phase-space density, particle collisions, angular momentum

Charges in electromagnetic fields: Action, Lagrangian, and Hamiltonian, equations of motion, gauge invariance, motion in constant uniform electromagnetic fields, motion in slowly-varying electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic field tensor

Electromagnetic field equations: Source-free Maxwell equations, charge and current densities, action integral for the electromagnetic field, inhomogeneous Maxwell equations, electromagnetic energy, electromagnetic energy-momentum tensor

Constant electromagnetic fields: Constant electric fields, electrostatic energy of charges, electrostatic multipole moments, a system of charges in an external electrostatic field, constant magnetic fields, magnetostatic multipole moments, a system of charges in an external magnetostatic field

Electromagnetic waves: wave equation and electromagnetic plane waves, monochromatic plane waves, relativistic Doppler effect, spectral analysis, group velocity

Fields of moving charges: Field of a uniformly moving charge, retarded potentials, potentials of a moving charge, electromagnetic field of a moving charge

Radiation of electromagnetic waves: Radiation from a slowly-moving charge, dipole radiation, bremsstrahlung, radiation from a fast-moving charge, synchrotron radiation, radiation damping



Lectures M W F 11:00 - 11:50 AM

Homework (50%)

Term exam (25% for each of two)

Text: L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz, The classical theory of fields


All information is representative only, and is likely to change from year to year.