6.641 | Spring 2009 | Graduate

Electromagnetic Fields, Forces, and Motion



The readings in the table below are separated into textbook sections and video demonstrations. The textbook sections come from the Zahn and Woodson/Melcher textbooks. The video demonstrations accompany the Haus/Melcher textbook. The Haus/Melcher textbook is used as a supplement for the first half of the course in addition to the textbook sections listed below. All three textbooks can be found here.


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

[W/M] = 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).


[H/M] = Haus, Hermann A., and James R. Melcher. Electromagnetic Fields and Energy. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1989. ISBN: 9780132490207.

Readings by Session

The numbering L1, L2, and so forth in the Topics corresponds to the numbering of the lecture notes.

1 L1: Integral form of Maxwell’s equations

[H/M] 1.4.1 - Magnetic field of a line current out

[H/M] 1.6.1 - Voltmeter reading induced by magnetic induction

[Z] sections 2.1-2.4 and 5.1-5.2
2 L2: Differential form of Maxwell’s equations   [Z] sections 1.4-1.5
3 L3: Electroquasistatic (EQS) and magnetoquasistatic (MQS) fields and boundary conditions   [Z] sections 3.3 and 5.6
4 L4: The scalar electric potential and the Coulomb superposition integral   [Z] sections 2.5, 2.3.5, and 5.2.4
5 L5: Method of images [H/M] 4.7.1 - Charge induced in ground plane by overhead conductor [Z] sections 2.6-2.7
6 L6: Magnetoquasistatics

[H/M] 8.2.1 - Fields of a circular cylindrical solenoid

[H/M] 8.2.2 - Magnetic field of a Helmholtz coil

[H/M] 6.6.1 - Artificial dielectric

[Z] section 5.4
7 L7: Polarization and conduction

[H/M] 7.7.1 - Relaxation of charge on particle in Ohmic conductor

[H/M] Supplement: Van de Graaff and Kelvin generators

[Z] section 3.2
8 L8: Magnetization

[H/M] 9.4.1 - Measurements of B-H characteristic

[H/M] 8.6.1 - Surface currents induced in ground plane by overhead conductor

[Z] section 5.5 and 6.2
9 L9: Magnetic diffusion phenomena [H/M] 10.0.1 - Non uniqueness of voltage in an MQS system [Z] section 6.1
10-11 L10: Solutions to Laplace’s equation in Cartesian coordinates    
12-13 L11: Solutions to Laplace’s equation in polar and spherical coordinates [H/M] 7.5.1 - Distribution of unpaired charge [Z] section 4.2
14-16 L12: Electroquasistatic forces [H/M] 7.5.2 - Rotation of an insulating rod in a steady current [Z] section 4.3
17-20 L13: Magnetoquasistatic forces   [Z] sections 4.4 and 5.7.2
21 L14: Fields and moving media   [W/M] chapter 3
22 L15: Force densities, stress tensors, and forces   [W/M] chapter 5
23-24 L18: Waves and instabilities in elastic media

DC, AC, and electromechanically self-excited commutator machines


Melcher James R. Complex Waves I: Propagation, Evanescence, and Instability. VHS. Produced by the National Committee for Electrical Engineering Films. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, 1968.

[Z] section 6.3
25 L19: Waves and instabilities in the presence of motion


Melcher, James R. Complex Waves II: Instability, Convection and Amplification. VHS. Produced by the National Committee for Electrical Engineering Films. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, 1968.

[W/M] chapter 8

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Exams with Solutions
Lecture Notes
Online Textbook
Course Introduction