The University of Iowa
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of Physics and Astronomy

                                            29::213 Classical Electrodynamics I

                                                             Fall  Semester 2011

Instructor: Prof. Yannick Meurice


Prof. Yannick Meurice


The students are assumed to be familiar with classical electrodynamics at an undergraduate level, in particular with Maxwell's equations, basic vector calculus (e.g. as presented in the textbook of D. Griffiths "Introduction to Electrodynamics") and rudiments of special functions. Students who are not familiar with the special functions used in boundary value problems (chapters 2 and 3 in Jackson) have the possibility to learn more about them by taking Mathematical Methods of Physics I (29:171). 


The main textbook is J. D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics; 3rd Edition, Wiley (JDJ hereafter).
Complementary explanations and useful figures can be found in H. Ohanian, Classical Electrodynamics; 2d Edition,
Infinity Science Press (warning: this book uses cgs units).  

Course Content

This is the first part of a two semester course.  We will follow JDJ and use SI units.
Sequence of topics:

1. Electrostatics and boundary-value problems (parts of JDJ 1-3)
2. Electrostatics of macroscopic media, dielecrics (JDJ 4)
3. Magnetostatics (JDJ 5 )
4. Maxwell's equations and retarded potentials (JDJ 6)
5. Electromagnetic waves (JDJ  7) if time permits


Problem solving is an important part of the course and typically, an amount of work larger than the amount for an average undergraduate course (2 hours of work for one hour in the classroom) will be necessary.  Reading assignments and  problem sets will be provided each Wednesday. They will be posted at  These assignments must be completed individually (see note on plagiarism below).  They are due one week after they are assigned, before class. No late work (but a one day extension can usually be obtained from the instructor). The two worse  homework grades will be droped from the average. 

Examinations and Final Grade

The final grade will be based on the homework assignments (30 percent), two midterms (40 percent) and a final (30 percent).   The final will be on  Thursday December 15 2011 at 12:00 P.M.(noon)     (see final exam schedule).
The dates for the midterms are 10/5 and 11/16. 

Class Attendance

Attendance at lectures is strongly recommended.
You are strongly encouraged to ask questions during the lectures. There are no ``stupid questions''.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Policies and Procedures

Administrative Home
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the administrative home of this course and governs matters such as the add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option, and other related issues. Different colleges may have different policies. Questions may be addressed to 120 Schaeffer Hall or see the CLAS Academic Handbook.



Electronic Communication
University policy specifies that students are responsible for all official correspondences sent to their standard University of Iowa e-mail address ( Students should check their account frequently. (Operations Manual, III.II.15. 2. k.11.)

Academic Fraud
Plagiarism and any other activities when students present work that is not their own are academic fraud and are considered by the College to be a very serious matter. Academic fraud is reported by the instructor to the departmental DEO who enforces the departmental consequences. The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum is also informed. The Associate Dean enforces collegiate consequences which may included suspension or expulsion. See the CLAS Academic Handbook.

Making a Suggestion or a Complaint
Students with a suggestion or complaint should first visit the instructor, then the course supervisor and the departmental Associate chair. Paul Kleiber. Complaints must be made within six months of the incident. See the CLAS Academic Handbook.  

Accommodations for Disabilities
A student seeking academic accommodations should register with Student Disability Services and meet privately with the course instructor to make particular arrangements. For more information, visit this site.

Understanding Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and threatens the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. All members of the UI community have a responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported immediately. See the UI Comprehensive Guide on Sexual Harassment at for assistance, definitions, and the full University policy.

Reacting Safely to Severe Weather
In severe weather, the class members should seek shelter in the innermost part of the building, if possible at the lowest level, staying clear of windows and free-standing expanses. The class will continue if possible when the event is over. (Operations Manual, IV. 16.14. Scroll down to sections e and i for severe weather information.)

*The CLAS policy statements have been summarized from the web pages of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.