R. Shankar Fundamentals of Physics II: Electromagnetism, Optics & Quantum Mechanics

Last updated date: September 8, 2020

DWYM Score

8.8

R. Shankar Fundamentals of Physics II: Electromagnetism, Optics & Quantum Mechanics

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We looked at the top Electromagnetism Books and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Electromagnetism Book you should buy.

Editor's Note September 8, 2020:
Checkout The Best Electromagnetism Book for a detailed review of all the top electromagnetism books.

Overall Take

Included in this electromagnetism book are the following topics: electromagnetism, optics and quantum mechanics. The course is easy to follow and ensures students have a full grasp of the fundamentals before moving on to more complex topics. The author also has teaching sessions that complement the lessons on his YouTube channel.


In our analysis, the R. Shankar R. Shankar Fundamentals of Physics II placed 4th when we looked at the top 5 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

R. Shankar, a well-known physicist and contagiously enthusiastic educator, was among the first to offer a course through the innovative Open Yale Course program. His popular online video lectures on introductory physics have been viewed over a million times. In this second book based on his online Yale course, Shankar explains essential concepts, including electromagnetism, optics, and quantum mechanics.

An Overview On Electromagnetism Books

Electromagnetism falls under the category of physics. While many once thought that electricity and magnetism were separate forces, scientists uncovered that the two are actually linked. First, a magnetic field is created by an electric current. Second, a voltage is produced when a magnetic field changes.

While high school science textbooks include chapters on electromagnetism, chances are you won’t dive deeper into the subject until you enter college. Of course, anyone is welcome to purchase an electromagnetism book to explore the subject on their own. When shopping for the best electromagnetism book, consider the following features.

Start with an introductory electromagnetism book. This allows you to build a firm understanding of the most important concepts. Slater & Frank’s “Electromagnetism” is an excellent place to start. The book is divided up into three main sections. First, students are taught about electrostatics. Second, magnetostatics are covered. Third, electromagnetic theory is explained. It’s helpful if the reader already has a knowledge of calculus and differential equations before reading this book.

Check the layout of the electromagnetism book next. For example, Purcell & Morin’s “Electricity & Magnetism” contains hundreds of illustrations to further demonstrate the lessons being taught. The book also features discussions of real-life applications and more than 600 end-of-chapter problems and exercises.

Look for material on electromagnetism that is thought provoking. For example, Robert Becker’s “The Body Electric” is written in a way that is easy to understand, yet it’s designed to make you think. It’s not a scholastic textbook, so it’s best for more curious readers. What the author does is take the reader through a scientific journey that challenges some of today’s modern theories.

Move on to more advanced electromagnetism textbooks once you’ve mastered the basics. R. Shankar’s “Fundamentals of Physics II” includes electromagnetism, optics and quantum mechanics. The course gradually moves on to more complex topics. It expects that the reader has already taken, and mastered, Physics I. Reader’s will be able to watch the author’s complementary teaching lessons on his YouTube channel.

The Electromagnetism Book Buying Guide

  • When searching for the best electromagnetism book, start with a version that teaches basic physics. You can always build on your knowledge from there; however, you’ll find it hard to keep up with more advanced books if you don’t have a solid grasp of the basic fundamentals.
  • Consider using free online lectures to supplement the materials in your electromagnetism book. YouTube is flooded with professors who post their teaching sessions for their students. Since the videos are public, anyone can watch them.
  • If you have trouble with certain concepts in your electromagnetism book, you may wish to hire a tutor. Sometimes all it takes is another individual to explain a problem in a new way for the switch to flip.
  • As you prepare to take an electromagnetism course, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. A notebook and pencil are needed to work out problems. Some exercises will also require the use of a scientific calculator.
  • When purchasing an electromagnetism book, you’ll find paperback versions are much cheaper than hardback. In some cases, the books are available at a discounted rate as an ebook. Another factor that affects price is whether the book is designed to be used as a college textbook, or simply for your own enjoyment. You’ll find Robert Becker’s “The Body Electric” and Slater & Frank’s “Electromagnetism” are the most affordable of the bunch. R. Shankar’s “Fundamentals of Physics II” has a more moderate price, while Purcell & Morin’s “Electricity & Magnetism” comes in with the highest price tag.