Phys 23 Fall 2015

Phys 23, Fall 2015

Lectures: Monday and Wed 7:30pm Broida 1640

Instructor: Boris Shraiman,

                Shraiman's Office hours: Monday 2:00-4:00pm,   KITP Kohn Hall rm 2317

Teaching Assistant:

James Giammona,, Office Hours: Tue 12:00-2:00pm and Wed 1:00-2:00pm

Andrew Maguire,, Office Hours: Wed 2:00-3:30pm and Thu 3:00-5:00pm

Course Syllabus :

Week 9/28 - Lecture 1-2:

  • Charge. Coulomb's Law. Energy of a system of charges

Week 10/5 - Lecture 3-4:

  • The Electric Field. Gauss's Law, Exampls of Electric Field for simple charge distributions.

Week 10/12 - Lecture 5-6:

  • The Electrostatic Potential and its Gradient. Examples of Electric Field for simple charge distributions.

Week 10/19 - Lecture 7-8:

  • Gauss's law in differential form. Divergence and the Laplacian. The Poisson equation. The Curl and Circulation

Week 10/26 - Lecture 9-10:

  • Conductors in the Electrostatic Field. Surface charge and the Boundary value problem. Electric Fields around conductors. Image Charges.

Week 11/2 – Midterm 11/2 and Lecture 11

  • Capacitance and Capacitors. Potentials and charges on several conductors.

Week 11/9 - Lecture 12 (Holiday 11/11):

  • Electric current. Conductivity and Ohm’s Law.

Week 11/16 - Lecture 13-14:

  • Current Density. Electrostatic Field in conductors with moving charges. Physics of electrical conduction.

Week 11/23- Lecture 15-16:

  • Metals and Semiconductors. Energy dissipation. Electromotive Force and the Voltaic Cell.

Week 11/30 - Lecture 17-18

  • Kirchoff's Laws. RC circuit. Review

Week 12/7 – Final Exam 12/7

PHYS 23 final is scheduled in Harold Frank Hall 1104 on Friday, December 11, 2015 from 7:30-10:30 pm


Homework assigned every Wed and is due the following Wed.

Course grade = Homework 40% +Midterm 20% + Final 40%.



  1. Purcell, Electricity and Magnetism. Third edition.
  2. Calculations must be done, so a scientific calculator (must have trig, exponential, etc) is essential.


Purcell is a challenging textbook, and assumes that you have or are rapidly developing good ability in vector calculus. For those who want to brush up on their vector calculus, Schey, Div, Grad, Curl and All That is a good resource.


Homework Assignments