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Fundamentals of Physics II: Electromagnetism, Optics, and Quantum Mechanics

Fundamentals of Physics II: Electromagnetism, Optics, and Quantum Mechanics

Author: R. Shankar

Publisher: Yale University Press


Publish Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN-10: 0300212364

Pages: 608

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Relativity, and Thermodynamics. It is the second half of an introductory course taught at Yale and covers electromagnetism, optics, and quantum mechanics. Like Volume I, it is based on the lectures given at Yale to a diverse class. The two volumes could be used for a year-long course in introductory physics that covers all the major topics. It may also be used for self-study. Some instructors may prescribe it as a supplement to another text. The chapters in the book more or less follow the Yale lectures with a few minor modifications. The style preserves the classroom atmosphere. Often I introduce the questions asked by the students or the answers they give when I believe they will be of value to the reader. The problem sets and exams, without which one cannot learn or be sure one has learned the physics, may be found along with their solutions at the Yale website,, free and open to all. The lectures may also be found at venues YouTube, iTunes ( physics-video/id341651848?mt=10), and Academic Earth, to name a few. In the lectures I sometimes refer to my Basic Training in Mathematics, published by Springer and intended for anyone who wants to master the undergraduate mathematics needed for the physical sciences.

This book, like its predecessor, owes its existence to many people. Peter Salovey, now president, then dean of Yale College, persuaded me to be part of the first batch of Open Yale Courses, funded by the Hewlett Foundation. Diana E. E. Kleiner, Dunham Professor, History of Art and Classics, encouraged and guided me in many ways. She was also the one who persuaded me to write both these books. At Yale University Press, Joe Calamia has been an invaluable guide, making countless suggestions to improve the book’s contents. He has also lent his name to many subatomic particles that appear in this book. Once again Ann-Marie Imbornoni skillfully shepherded the book through various stages of production. I am delighted that Liz Casey was once again able to apply her editorial magic to the manuscript, greatly improving not only the punctuation, syntax, and grammar but also the clarity. She made sure my intended sense was captured by the words used. I thank Professor Ganpathy Murthy (University of Kentucky) and Branislav Djordjevic (George Mason University) for thoughtful comments. My very special thanks go to Phil Nelson of the University of Pennsylvania for his detailed and insightful comments on many parts of the book. The writing of this book started a year ago and ended August 2015 at the Aspen Center for Physics (ACP). I am most grateful for the climate provided by the ACP where both the scientist and author in me found intellectual nourishment. The ACP is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant number 1066293.

A large portion of the book was written at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) in Santa Barbara, where I was fortunate to receive a Simons Distinguished Visiting Scholar award for Fall 2014. The KITP is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant number NSF PHY11–25915. I am especially grateful to Professor Lars Bildsten for making this possible.

The day I find I cannot write books at either of these marvelous places, I will switch to another line of work. Barry Bradlyn and Alexey Shkarin were two exceptional graduate students who proofread the book, caught bugs, and suggested stylistic changes. My family, all three generations of it, was very supportive as always. The final check was provided by Stella, who left many unsolicited notes in the margins and inside using her crayons. She is responsible for all remaining errors.

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