Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

PHYSICS 385, FALL 2016





Prof. David Vanderbilt
Office: Serin E291
Phone: (848) 445-9049
Office Hours: Fridays 3-4pm

Textbook: Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, Fourth Edition. This is a required text, and I plan to work almost exclusively from this text. We will cover at least Ch. 1-5 in the fall term; the remaining chapters will be covered in the spring term course, Physics 386. See the syllabus.
(If you have the 3rd Edition of Griffiths, see here.)

Lectures: Lectures will meet as follows:

Lecture should be as interactive as possible; you are definitely encouraged to ask questions, or express what is confusing you, in the lecture. Also, I strongly recommend that you read the corresponding textbook material before lecture, so that you can come prepared to ask questions about the points that you find unclear.

Homeworks: Since people usually "learn by doing," the homeworks are an extremely important part of the course experience. Homeworks will be assigned each week (except around the hour exams), with the homework due the next week. Homework will be graded and returned to you. Solutions will be available on the same day as the homeworks are collected, so this does not leave any room for acceptance of late homeworks.

Quizzes: A few (probably 3) scattered lectures during the semester will end with a 10-15 minute quiz. This will always be announced at least a week in advance. The quiz questions will not be very difficult, and the grade weight will not be very large, but I think this is a useful exercise to keep you warmed up for the hour exams and to give me an idea what you have absorbed.

Exams: We will have two in-class hour exams during the semester. The final exam will be cumulative, but with slightly stronger emphasis on the material covered after the second hour exam.

Web site: If you are looking at a paper copy of this document, it is actually a printout of the course home page located at Please bookmark this location. It will be used frequently for listing homework assignments and communicating other details about the course.

Communication: My "posted office hours" are as listed above, but you are free to see me at other times as well. If it is a quick question, just drop in; otherwise it might be advisable to phone or email ahead to make an appointment. Also, feel free to contact me by email about any aspect of the course.

Gradebook: You will be able to follow your grade record at Gradebook online.

Grades: Some allowance will be made for dropping the lowest homework and quiz grades. The final grade will tentatively be based on the following weighting:

30% for homeworks
10% for quizzes
15% for first hour exam
15% for second hour exam
30% for final exam
The final grade will also take into account intangible factors such as class participation.

Tutoring: A number of physics graduate students have indicated an interest in tutoring students in undergraduate physics courses, for a fee that you will need to negotiate with the tutor; see this list.

Students with disabilities: Please read here.

Tentative Lecture Schedule (Syllabus):

2016 Date Chapter Topic
9/7 2.1 Electrostatics: Introduction
9/8 2.1 Electric fields
9/14 2.2 Gauss's Law
9/15 2.2 Gauss's Law
9/21 2.2 Gauss's Law
9/22 2.3 Electric potential
9/28 2.3 Electric potential
9/29 2.4 Work and energy
10/5 2.5 Conductors and capacitance
10/6 3.1 Laplace's Equation
10/12 First Hour Exam (Chapter 2)
10/13 3.1 Uniqueness of solutions
10/19 3.2 Method of images
10/20 3.3 Separation of variables
10/26 3.3 Separation of variables
10/27 3.4 Multipole expansion
11/2 4.1 Electric fields in matter; Polarization
11/3 4.2 Polarization-induced fields
11/9 4.3 The D-field
11/10 4.4 Linear dielectrics
11/16 Second Hour Exam (Chapter 3)
11/17 5.1 Magnetostatics: Lorentz Force Law
11/22 5.1 Currents
This class meets on Tuesday at 1:40pm in SEC 208.
(Thanksgiving week; no classes Wed. or Thurs.)
11/30 5.2 Biot-Savart Law
12/1 5.3 Curl and divergence of B
12/7 5.4 The vector potential
12/8 5.4 The vector potential
12/14 6.1 Magnetic fields in matter (last regular class)
12/15 Tentative: Review session

Final Exam: Tuesday December 20, 2016, 8-11am. (Chs. 2-5.)

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