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Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali

Electrodynamics (PHY303)
(August November 2013)
Practice Problem Set

This is a practice problem set, the idea is that you can brush up your basics before we launch into the course.
If you find the problems too difficult, or too easy, then please do let me know. This will help me in making sure that the
lectures are pitched at an appropriate level.

1. If r is a vector from the origin to the point (x, y, z). Show that:
(a)

r = 0.

(b) And except at r 6= 0,


.(r/r3 ) = 0.
(c)

(r/r3 ) = 0.

(d)

(1/r) = r/r3 .

(e) From (1a) we know that r can be written as r = . What is ?


2. Given 3-dimensional vectors A and B we can construct a cross product vector C = A B. Can this be done in general,
i.e., when A and B are n-dimensional vectors? [Hint: Consider n = 2, or n = 4.]
3. Write down an expanded expression for ( A).
4. Write down an expanded expression for .(A B).
5. Make a rough sketch of vector field A(x), which satisfies:
(a)

.A = 0, A = 0
(b)

.A = 0, A 6= 0
(c)

.A 6= 0, A = 0
(d)

.A 6= 0, A 6= 0

6. The propagation vector k = (kx , ky , kz ) is defined as the change of phase in radians per unit length along the direction
of propagation of the wave. Suppose we try to define a wavelength vector through the following equation: v = =
(x , y , z ) where v is the velocity of the wave. What is wrong with this definition?
7. Consider a parallel plate capacitor with capacitance 1 F with a potential difference of 200 V. Find out the number of
electrons on each plate. Estimate the variation in voltage if the number of electrons fluctuates by N .

8. A current of 1 Ais flowing in a wire. What is the number of electrons flowing in the wire per unit time? Estimate flctuations
in current due to N fluctuations in the number of electrons flowing per unit time.

the number flux of photons from a 100 W lamp at a distance of 10 m. By what percentage does the flux fluctuate
9. Estimate
due to N fluctuations in the number flux of photons?

10. What is the nnumber flux of photons for an FM radio station at a distance of 10 km if the transmitted power is 1 kW? Typical
FM transmission is at frrequencies close to 100 MHz.
11. Brightest radio sources in the sky have a flux of about 1026 W/m2 /Hz. The Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT)
has 30 antennas and each antenna has a diameter of 45 m. Calculate the number of photons received per unit time if the
observing frequency is 1.4 GHz, observations are carried out with a bandwidth of 32 MHz. Also calculate
the total energy
received per unit time. If the number of photons arriving at the telescope is allowed to fluctuate by N then what is the
percentage fluctuation in flux?
12. A standard result in electrostatics is that a point charge cannot be held in stable equilibrium under the action of electrostatic
forces. Prove this by showing that the electrostatic potential cannot have a minimum at a point in space where there are no
charges.

13. Consider two conducting spheres of different radii r1 and r2 connected by a wire and carrying a total charge Q. Which
sphere carries a larger electric field on its surface? Are you reminded of any practical consequence of this?
14. Let E1 and E2 be the electric fields producced by two point charges q1 and q2 kept b cm apart. Find the value of the integral
Z
I= E1 .E2 d3 x.
all space

[Hint : All the problems in this assignment are very simple!]


15. Find out the roots of the equation:
z3 + 1 = 0
here z = x + y is a complex number.

16. Consider a pulse of light in x-y plane in the lab frame (S) moving along a direction inclined at an angle to the x axis. Now
transform this angle to the frame of reference that is moving with respect to the lab frame with velocity v along x axis (S 0 ).
17. Two momentarily coincident spaceships are travelling towards a distant planet. To one observer the planet looks twice as
large as to the other. Find their relative velocity.

18. How fast must a particle move before its kinetic energy equals its rest energy?
19. Two electrons collide and result in two electrons and an elecronpositron pair. What is minimum energy of colliding electrons
for which such a reaction could have taken place? What is the configuration in which this reaction is realizable with just this
threshold energy? How will this threshold change if we demand that one of these electrons is at rest initially?
20. A light clock consists of two mirrors at opposite of a rod with a photon bouncing between them. Without assuming time
dilation, prove that this clock will slow by the expected factor as it travels (i) longitudinally, (ii) transversely, through an
inertial frame.
1 1
21. Show that (1) = ( 2 1) 2 , (2) d/d = 3 and (3) d() = 3 d. Here = 1/(1 2 ) 2 and = v/c where v is
the magnitude of the three velocity. Express d/d in terms of d/dt.