Saturday, April 10, 2010


It took me nearly a year, but I finally finished the last odd electromagnetism problem in an old edition of Serway's physics textbook. OK, there are a few that completely beat me. There were another dozen or so where I was absolutely convinced the answer at the back of the book was wrong. Still, I got a whole lot more than I missed, and there were no sections where I didn't get most of the answers correct.

I realized when I got a utility job that most everything can be understood by basic physics. I also realized that I didn't remember anything from the two semesters of electromagnetism I have taken. So I went for the direct method. My old high school physics textbook had answers to every odd problem, and eleven chapters on electromagnetism. Each chapter has about 70 problems in total, but doing problems you don't have answers to just builds up bad habits. So I decided to try and do every odd problem in those eleven chapters. Something close to 400 problems.

After that I can't say I really understand electromagnetism all that well. However I at least learned enough to feel safe going on to an advanced undergraduate text. Two or three of those, and maybe I will work up the nerve to take on Jackson.

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