Physics 342 - Classical Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism - Spring 2023


Renate Wackerbauer,
Office Location: REIC 106
phone: 474-6108                              
WELCOME !! and have a great semester

Open Office hours

Walk-ins are welcome; discussions after class work well; email is effective for straight-forward questions. additional recitation classes are available

Course Info

Phys342, 4 credits (4 lectures per week)


Phys 341; or permission of instructor. 


MWF 2:15 to 3:15pm, REIC 203; R 2:15-3:15, REIC 165

Noyes Lab

Access to the Noyes Computer Lab (Rm 101 NSCI) is provided to all students enrolled in a Physics course. Your polar express card lets you in.


Required text: 

Introduction to Electrodynamics, by D Griffiths, Cambridge University Press (4th edition, 2017)

Supplementary readings: 

* Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences, by M Boas, John Wiley and Sons (3rd edition, 2005); 

* Classical Electromagnetism, by J Jackson, Wiley Press, 

           - this book is for advanced reading - usually at the graduate level - 

Various E&M books in the library cover the material presented in the lectures. Please explore them to see different approaches to our topics.

Course Content

Tentative course calendar

Statics and dynamics of electric and magnetic fields in vacuum and in the presence of materials. Lorentz force law. Maxwell’s equations. 

Course Goals

Achieve a basic understanding of fundamental physical concepts in electricity and magnetism, one of the pillars of classical physics.   

Student Learning Outcomes

You learn, 

--how to describe and solve problems in theoretical electricity and magnetism

--how the electric (magnetic) field differs in vacuum and matter

--how Maxwell’s equations determine electric and magnetic fields 

--and how charged particles respond to these fields via the Lorentz force law 



Richard Feynman (Nobel prize, 1965) "You don't understand anything until you have practiced"

Homework (10 assignments, each counting 100pts) will be assigned weekly and will be due at the beginning of class on the following Friday, unless explicitly altered at the time of assignment. Late homework will not be accepted. I will post relevant homework problems in the class case of the Physics Dept hallway. I am happy to post additional problems, just let me know which ones you like to see. I HIGHLY appreciate it if you RECYCLE paper for your homework!

- in case of issues with the homework link use:

You can earn 100 bonus points in the homework by giving a 10min presentation to class on a topic related to class, for example the life of a mathematician/physicist important for E&M, an application of an E&M concept - discussed in class - to a particular physics/science problem, etc


Two one-hour in-term examinations and a two hour final examination will be held during the semester. In-term exams will be held in the classroom. The exams will be closed books and closed notes. No calculators, computers, or communication devices are allowed. 

Exam 1 (in class)

Friday, February 24

Griffiths: approx. chapt. 2-3

Exam 2 (in class)

Friday, April 7

Griffiths: approx. chapt. 3-6

Final Exam

Friday, May 5, 1-3pm

Griffiths: approx. chapt. 2-8


The maximum score for each homework will be 100 points. Interpreting a solution physically contributes strongly to the understanding of the concepts. Therefore, it is required that each homework is interpreted.  illegible  work will not be graded. To pass the course with a grade higher than an "F", you need 40% of the total credits. Grades A - D are assigned equal weight (units of 15%) for total credits between 40% and 100%. +/- are assigned 2.5% from grade boundary. So A+ (>97.5), A(>87.5), A- (>85), B+(>82.5), B(>72.5), B- (>70), C+ (>67.5), C (>57.5), C- (>55), etc. For the final grade homework, exams, will be weighted as follows: 



Exam 1


Exam 2


Final Exam


Course policies

Attendance at lectures is expected. Active class participation, questions are extremely welcome in the lectures. A missed exam receives 0 credit unless the instructor is notified by email, phone, etc before the exam starts. Make-up exams will be individually scheduled with the student. 

Student Obligations

As students of UAF, you are bound by the policies and regulations of the University of Alaska, UAF rules and procedures, and the Student Honor Code. You are obligated to make yourselves familiar with all conditions presented in the UAF Catalog. Plagiarism on homework or on an exam will result in a failing grade.

Students should keep up-to-date on the university's policies, practices, and mandates related to COVID-19 by regularly checking this website: 

Further, students are expected to adhere to the university’s policies, practices, and mandates and are subject to disciplinary actions if they do not comply.

Student protection and services statement

Student protections statement: UAF embraces and grows a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion, and caring. Students at this university are protected against sexual harassment and discrimination (Title IX). Faculty members are designated as responsible employees which means they are required to report sexual misconduct. Graduate teaching assistants do not share the same reporting obligations. For more information on your rights as a student and the resources available to you to resolve problems, please go to the following site:

Disability services statement: I will work with the Office of Disability Services to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.

Student Academic Support:

        Speaking Center (907-474-5470,, Gruening 507)

        Writing Center (907-474-5314,, Gruening 8th floor)

        UAF Math Services,, Chapman Building 

        Developmental Math Lab, Gruening 406

        The Debbie Moses Learning Center at CTC (907-455-2860, 604 Barnette St, Room 120,


        For more information and resources, please see the Academic Advising Resource List


Student Resources:

        Disability Services (907-474-5655,, Whitaker 208) 

        Student Health & Counseling [6 free counseling sessions] 

               (907-474-7043,, Whitaker 203)

        Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities 

               (907-474-7317,, Eielson 110)

        Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (ASUAF) or 

        ASUAF Student Government (907-474-7355,, Wood Center 119)

Nondiscrimination statement: The University of Alaska is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution. The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, physical or mental disability, status as a protected veteran, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, parenthood, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, or other legally protected status. The University's commitment to nondiscrimination, including against sex discrimination, applies to students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment. Contact information, applicable laws, and complaint procedures are included on UA's statement of nondiscrimination available at For more information, contact: UAF Department of Equity and Compliance, 355 Duckering Building, 907-474-7300,