A Student's Guide to Maxwell's Equations

Minor corrections for the 2nd (and later) printings:

1) On page 3 in Chapter 1, three lines from the bottom of the page, the line beginning with "to use..." has an extraneous "a" prior to the word "either" (the line should read, "... to use either arrows or "field lines" that point in the direction of...").

2) On page 45 in Chapter 2, in the second line of the paragraph beginning, "Using the definition of the vector cross-product...," the expression "a x b" at the very beginning of the line should be enclosed with vertical bars.

3) On page 96 in Chapter 4, in the fifth line of the paragraph beginning with "Comparing notes with your friend...," the word "addition" is misspelled - the second "t" should be removed.

4) On page 108 in Chapter 4, in the equation just below the words "And since B has only...," the three-line equals symbol (representing "is defined as") should be a regular two-line equals symbol (=).

Major (potentially life-saving) addition to the 2nd (and later) printings:

On the "Acknowledgments" page (just after the sentence ending with "patient support"):

"And speaking of patience, the amazing Jill Gianola surely holds the modern-day record."

Corrected in 3rd printing:

Nothing (this printing happened really quickly after the 2nd)

Corrected in the 4th printing:

On page 54 in Chapter 2, the first sentence after Equation 2.8 should read, "...since the magnetic field makes circular loops around the wire, it has no z-component and no radial component (although it does have a radial dependence, since the field weakens with distance from the wire). Thus Bz and Br both equal zero in this case, leaving only the phi-component." (Thanks to Steven Holland for pointing out this error, and for sticking to his point when I misunderstood which sentence he was referencing. Readers like Steven make authors want to do a good job.)

Corrected in the 5th printing:

On page 121, the references to Equation 5.9 should say “Poisson’s Equation.” Thus the final paragraph should read, “This is called Poisson’s Equation, and it is often the best way to find the electrostatic field when you are not able to construct a special Gaussian surface. In such cases, it may be possible to solve Poisson’s Equation for the electric potential V and then determine E by taking the gradient of the potential.” (Thanks to Steven Wiechecki Vergara and Golam Kibria Chowdhury for alerting me to this).

To be corrected in the next printing:

On page 122, Equation 5.12 should read:

equation(Cartesian) (5.12)

(Thanks to Sarunas Lazdinis for calling my attention to this.)

On page 76, Equation 3.11 should read


On page 77, point 7 in Figure 3.7 is incorrectly referred to as being in Figure 3.7 (b), but it actually appears in Figure 3.7 (c).  Hence the second sentence of the second full paragraph on page 77 should read “The uniform flow around point 6 in Figure 3.7 (b) and the diverging flow lines around point 7 in Figure 3.7 (c) would not cause a tiny paddlewheel to rotate, meaning that these are points of zero curl.”

(Thanks to Franco Battaglia for pointing out this typo.)

To be corrected in future printings:

On page 10, the phrase "...the surface integral is applied not to a scalar function (such as the density of a surface) but to a vector field." should say "...the surface integral is applied not to a function such as the density of a surface but to a component of a vector field.".

On page 22, the caption for Figure 1.11 should say "spherical" instead of "sperical".

On page 38, GNU Octave should be called "free software" instead of "freeware."

On page 76, in Figure 3.7c, arrowheads should appear on both ends of the horizontal line.

On page 78, the ∇ symbols in Eqs. 3.15 and 3.16 should have vector arrows above them.

On page 78, the caption for Figure 3.8 should refer to ∂Az/∂y (lowercase "y").

On page 78, the first term on the right side of Equation 3.16 should read

On page 104, the first equation should be

and the first two terms of the second equation should be

On page 111, in the problem statement for Problem 4.8, the second term should be (b/r)e-r for clarity.

On page 114, it should be noted that although J.L. Lagrange was born in Italy, his work was also done in Germany and France.

To contact Dan Fleisch, send e-mail to name