An Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
June 29, 2020 - July 02, 20206/29 - 7/02*M-Th 8:30A - 12:05POpenTheodora Kunicki

Course Description

Electricity and Magnetism is one of the most elegant and well-understood branches of the Physical Sciences. In this course, we'll take a whirlwind-tour of the topic's most important and fundamental topics. In addition to learning about E&M, this class will focus on helping you develop your problem-solving skills, and learning to think like a physicist. That means asking questions, working in groups, getting your hands dirty, and persevering until a problem is solved.

The class will consist of lectures, demos, hands-on work, and group problem-solving, all focused on the broad range of phenomena that make up the field of Electricity and Magnetism.

This course will cover the basic phenomenology of Electricity and Magnetism, starting from mathematical foundations and including electrostatics, magnetostatics, circuits, and Electromagnetic radiation. While most of the class will be aimed toward developing a good intuitive understanding of the material, it will also go into mathematical detail at times, to underscore the importance of mathematical reasoning in Physics.

Every class will include some group work on interesting and challenging problems relating to the subject matter of the day. During these more free-form sessions, the students will learn to systematically understand physical concepts and techniques, and hone their skills of communicating difficult ideas with others. During these problem-solving sessions, the instructor will be available to answer any and all questions the students have, even if they go beyond the course material.

At times, there will be class demonstrations or hands-on kit projects to help underscore a concept and show the connection of E&M to our daily lives. These will be provide a nice break of pace from the usual flow of the class, and allow students to figure out for themselves how these E&M concepts work in real life.

Once they have finished this course, students will have a good foundation in the concepts of Electricity and Magnetism, as well as the problem-solving and experimental techniques that all physicists and STEM-area professionals use every day. Students will learn to take seemingly impossible problems, break them down, and work with others to overcome them.

Prerequisites: While not required, a familiarity with High School level Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry is recommended. If you haven't taken some of these classes, but are still interested in the class, please reach out to the instructor! With some supplemental support, this class should be quite possible.

*For 1 week course sections scheduled for June 29 - July 2, 2020: Classes will not meet on Friday, July 3rd due to the observed Independence Day holiday. Due to the brevity of the course, meeting times have been adjusted accordingly Monday - Thursday to preserve in-class hours. We encourage students to remain on campus through Friday as our Campus Life team will be fully engaged with our students, offering a variety of activities.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPI0908
  • Length: 1 week

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2020.

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