Physics 4011

Electrodynamic Theory

Spring 2020

Tuesday & Thursday 14:00-15:50 MWAH 397

Instructor: Alec Habig

Office: MWAH 358

Office Hours: 14:00-15:00MW, 11:00-12:00TTh
(or by appointment)

Telephone: 726-7214


Pre-requisites: Phys 3033

Text: David J. Griffiths,

Introduction to Electrodynamics (4th ed.)

Additional readings or assignments from other texts or the web might be assigned over the course of the semester, but arrangements will be made so you do not have to buy more books. This one is expensive enough.

Course Objectives: This course presents a comprehensive look at electric and magnetic fields and forces, both static and dynamic situations, in vacuum and matter. A large part of the substance of the course are the mathematical and numeric techniques needed to explore and understand the E&M. Toward the end of the course we will touch on the connection between relativity and E&M.

The topics to be covered include the following. Things will be added or subtracted based on the needs of the course and as we see how long it takes to cover the topics in question.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Grading: Course grades will be determined based on the following three areas, with their respective weights:

Letter grades will be assigned based upon the weighted average on a non-competitive curve. In order to keep the students informed as to their progress, a letter grade will be assigned after the mid-term exam or guesstimated upon request. The class grades will be kept on UMD's Canvas online system so you can have up to the minute access to your scores, although letter grades will only be set periodically as mentioned above.

Homework: Homework assignments are important and will be assigned at least on a weekly basis. Hearing or reading about something does not make it sink in. In order to really learn about a topic, you need to practice it. Homework is this practice as applied to the concepts and theory, thus the comparatively large weight in the grade. In addition to really helping one learn things, the homework helps the instructor see what areas need more or different explanation.

When writing out your homework solutions, include not only the diagrams and equations which lead to the answer, but elaborate on the reasoning that led you to the steps in your answer. Think of the good and bad examples your various physics texts have presented you with. Write your homework problems like the good ones, and remember how frustrating those “the remainder is an exercise left to the reader” passages have been. Late homework grades depreciate at a rate of 25% per 24 hours.

Note that copying homework from a solutions manual or google is not only cheating, it defeats the whole point of homework: it exists for you to practice the stuff, so you then do good on the subsequent test! If you can find a canned solution, so can I: don't copy solutions.

Exams: There will be two tests during the semester. The final serves as a third midterm, and will be XXXXX

Class Participation: This will partly be attendance, but mostly is a grade to encourage you to work stuff out on whiteboards in small groups in class. That's a great way to learn, and students will do stuff that points are attached to, so… here be points.

Students with Disabilities: It is the policy and practice of the University of Minnesota Duluth to create inclusive learning environments for all students, including students with disabilities. If there are aspects of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or your ability to meet course requirements such as time limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos, please notify the instructor as soon as possible. You are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources to discuss and arrange reasonable accommodations. Call 218-726-6130 or visit the Disability Resources web site at for more information.

Standard UMD academic policies: are in force and described online at

Important Dates:

Midterm Exams: haven't figured this out yet, will be announced at least a week before they happen.

Final Exam, Tuesday May 5, 14:00-15:55

Spring Break, no class week of March 9