Advanced Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*4180)

Code and section: PHYS*4180*01

Term: Fall 2011

Instructor: Bernie Nickel


Course Information

Calendar Description

Radiation from localized charge-current distributions (atoms, molecules, nuclei, antennae), electromagnetic potentials, gauge transformations, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms, multipole expansions of electrostatic and magnetostatic fields, and a selection of topics from radiation damping. Lorentz electron theory, wave guides, plasmas, relativistic electrodynamics, radiation scattering.


Lecturer Office Email
B.G.Nickel MacN 327  

Course Materials


  • Introduction to Electrodynamics by D. J. Griffiths is an excellent source for review and most of the topics covered in this course.
  • The book Classical Electrodynamics by J. D. Jackson covers rather more than what is in this course but it does describe all topics very clearly and is an excellent reference.


  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics (vol 2) are also worth looking at for their very nice physical descriptions.

Important Times and Dates


Day Time Location
M W F 11:20-12:30 MacN 118

Final Exam

Dec 14, 2011 7:00-9:00pm

Course Structure

The course will roughly follow the order of topics listed below. Some, like the waves section will be very brief to avoid duplication with other courses.

  1. Electromagnetics (static E, B fields)
  2. Multipole fields (spherical harmonic expansion)
  3. Maxwell’s eqn’s. (time dependent E, B fields; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian for particle motion)
  4. Waves (mostly special effects in conducting media; waveguides)
  5. Retarded potentials and radiation from point charges
  6. Radiation from harmonically oscillating charges
  7. Scattering of EM radiation (dispersion in gases and liquids)
  8. Special relativity and Maxwell’s eqn’s. (transformation properties of EM fields)


Assessment Weight
Problem assignments 30%
Midterm 30%
Final 40%

Midterm to be scheduled in week 8, 9 or 10

Course Policies

I encourage discussion among students on assignments but whatever is submitted must be independently written up. I am available for consultation most days and most hours.

Course Evaluation

The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching.

The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data, and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students (choosing "I agree" in question 14). Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.

NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.