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Last modified: 26 Feb 2018 19:58

Course Overview

We are surrounded by electromagnetic phenomena; it is not possible to understand the physical world without them. In this course we will discuss the link between electricity and magnetism, noticing that changing electric magnetic fields generate electric fields and the other way around. This will lead to the introduction of Faraday’s law, hugely relevant to understand how we generate electricity, and to the introduction of Maxwell’s correction to Ampere’s law, which will lead to the astounding result that light is an electromagnetic wave! We will finish the course by exploring how electromagnetic waves propagate and how they are originated.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Carmen Romano
  • Dr Murilo Baptista

Qualification Prerequisites

  • [$3][$4]

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of KL158Z The Physical Universe B (Passed) or PX1511 The Physical Universe - 2 (Passed) or PX1513 The Physical Universe B (Passed)
  • One of PX2014 Dynamical Phenomena (Passed) or PX2015 Dynamical Phenomena (Passed) or PX3017 Research and Computing Skills in Physics (Passed)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • PX3008 Electricity and Magnetism (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course content reflects the learning outcomes:

  • Electric fields related to their sources Coulomb's law.
  • Gauss' theorem (integral and differential form) Electric potential and Poisson's equation.
  • Electrostatic properties of media Electric dipole.
  • Dielectrics.
  • Polarisation.
  • Electric Displacement (D).
  • Relative permittivity Gauss' theorem in dielectric media.
  • Boundary conditions for E and D.
  • Capacitance Energy stored in electric fields.
  • Current density and conservation of charge.
  • Conductivity and resistance.
  • Magnetic fields related to their sources Biot-Savart law.
  • Ampere's theorem (integral and differential form) Gauss' theorem for magnetic fields.
  • Magnetostatic properties of media Magnetic dipole.
  • Magnetisation Magnetic Intensity (H).
  • Relative permeability.
  • Ampere's theorem in magnetisable media.
  • Boundary conditions for B and H.
  • Faraday's law Inductance.
  • Mutual inductance and the transformer.
  • Eddy currents Energy stored in magnetic fields.
  • Maxwell's equations.
  • Electromagnetic waves.
  • Waves in free space, dielectrics and conducting media.
  • Poynting vector Radiation and aerials.

Further Information & Notes

This is a course on fundamental electromagnetic phenomena; it aims to develop a physical appreciation of Maxwell's equations and their consequences. Practical applications and electromagnetic properties of materials are emphasised. The course is also a vehicle for the introduction of theorems in vector calculus that have wide application in physics. This course aims to develop an understanding of the electromagnetic properties of materials and of the dominant role of electromagnetism in technology based on the concepts embodied in Maxwell's equations.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Geology - Physics
  • BSc Physics
  • BSc Physics with Geology
  • BSc Physics with Philosophy
  • MA Natural Philosophy
  • Master of Physics with Complex Systems Modelling
  • Physics Joint
  • Physics Major

Contact Teaching Time

44 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: 1 two-hour written examination paper (50%), 1 mid-term exams (25%), 4 continuous assessments (12.5%) and weekly tutorial sheets (12.5%). Resit: 1 two-hour written examination paper (100%).

Formative Assessment

By dialogue with the lecturer in class and by means of problem classes. 


Feedback will be immediate in problem classes and within two weeks (usually one) in summative assessments.

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