© 2016

A Student's Guide Through the Great Physics Texts

Volume III: Electricity, Magnetism and Light


Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvi
  2. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 19-31
  3. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 33-41
  4. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 43-60
  5. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 61-66
  6. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 67-74
  7. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 75-82
  8. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 83-97
  9. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 99-111
  10. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 113-122
  11. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 123-138
  12. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 139-155
  13. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 157-167
  14. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 169-179
  15. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 181-187
  16. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 189-201
  17. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 203-208
  18. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 209-222
  19. Kerry Kuehn
    Pages 223-232

About this book


This book provides a chronological introduction to the electromagnetic theory of light, using selected extracts from classic texts such as Gilbert’s De Magnete, Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity, and Huygens’ Treatise on Light.  Particular attention is given to the works of Faraday, Maxwell and Heaviside, scientists who unified the formerly separate disciplines of electricity, magnetism and light.  Their electromagnetic theory—developed during the 19th century—would lead to the invention of modern radar, electrical power grids, and telecommunication networks.

Each chapter of this book begins with a short introduction followed by a reading selection.  Carefully crafted study questions draw out key points in the text and focus the reader’s attention on the author’s methods, analysis and conclusions.  Numerical and laboratory exercises at the end of each chapter test the reader’s ability to understand and apply key concepts from the text. 

Electricity, Magnetism and Light is the third of four volumes in A Student’s Guide through the Great Physics Texts.  This book grew out of a four-semester undergraduate physics curriculum designed to encourage a critical and circumspect approach to natural science while at the same time preparing students for advanced coursework in physics.  

This book is particularly suitable as a college-level textbook for students of the natural sciences, history or philosophy.  It can also serve as a textbook for advanced high-school or home-schooled students, or as a thematically-organized source-book for scholars and motivated lay-readers.  In studying the classic scientific texts included herein, the reader will be drawn toward a lifetime of contemplation.





Analysis of foundational physics text History of science book Physics and astronomy text electricity, magnetism and light electromagnetic theory of light

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Wisconsin Lutheran CollegeMilwaukeeUSA

About the authors

Dr. Kerry K. Kuehn is Professor in the Department of Physics at Wisconsin Lutheran College. He is a member of the American Physical Society and is also an Advisory Council member for NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium and Fidelitas (WLC Honors Program).

Bibliographic information