6.641 | Spring 2005 | Graduate

Electromagnetic Fields, Forces, and Motion


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Course Staff

Lecturer: Prof. Markus Zahn

Recitation Instructor: Prof. Gerald L. Wilson


6.641 examines electric and magnetic quasistatic forms of Maxwell’s equations applied to dielectric, conduction, and magnetization boundary value problems. Topics covered include: electromagnetic forces, force densities, and stress tensors, including magnetization and polarization; thermodynamics of electromagnetic fields, equations of motion, and energy conservation; applications to synchronous, induction, and commutator machines; sensors and transducers; microelectromechanical systems; propagation and stability of electromechanical waves; and charge transport phenomena.


The prerequisite for the course is 6.013 Electromagnetics and Applications.

General Guidelines


Lecture notes will present most of the course material. Required subject texts are texts 1 and 2 below. Text 3 is not required but may be useful as a supplementary text.

Zahn, Markus. Electromagnetic Field Theory: A Problem Solving Approach. Malabar, FL: Krieger Pub. Co., 2003. ISBN: 9781575242354.

Woodson, H. H., and J. R. Melcher. “Part I (Discrete Systems), and Part II (Fields, Forces, and Motion).” In Electromechanical Dynamics. Malabar, FL: Krieger Pub. Co., 1985. ISBN: 9780894644597 (Part I) and 9780898748475 (Part II).

Haus, Hermann A., and James R. Melcher. Electromagnetic Fields and Energy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1989. ISBN: 9780132490207.


A homework set will generally be handed out in the first lecture each week and is due in the second lecture of the following week (9 days later). No late homeworks will be accepted. For extenuating circumstances contact Prof. Zahn.


Lectures will be twice weekly. Recitations are tentatively twice a week but may be rescheduled to accommodate the schedules of all interested students. There will also be scheduled a one-hour homework review session each week.


Two evening quizzes are scheduled for two hours each. There will also be a Final Examination. A formula sheet that each student prepares will be allowed during all quizzes and the Final Exam. A standard 6.641 formula sheet will also be supplied. In compliance with Institute rules, on quiz days the recitation will be cancelled, but an optional quiz review will be given during the class time.


The grades in the course will be given with the following assigned weights:

Two one-hour quizzes 40%
Final exam 35%
Homework and tutorials 25%
Total 100%


The homework is an extremely important part of the subject. Students are allowed to work together on homework assignments but each person must do their own thinking and prepare their own homework. Quiz and final exam problems will be analogous to homework problems.


The course will have many physical demonstrations that are shown in lectures and recitations. For further study, many of the demonstrations are available in Supplemental Resources.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2005
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Exams with Solutions
Lecture Notes