PHYS 240: Computational Physics, Spring 2015

Time: Tuesdays, Thursdays, 1:30-2:45pm

Location: Incubator Classroom, Clark 111

Supplemental URL:


This course provides a foundation in numerical techniques and computational methods as applied to solving problems from various branches of physics, along with experience in numerical Python programming.

This semester the course meets in the Incubator Classroom, which provides a state-of-the-art technology-assisted, flexible learning environment, with facilities such as screen-sharing, multiple projectors, smart boards, and lecture capture. For further information, see  The bottom
line is that this special classroom should help in the course being very interactive.

Prerequisites include full upper division sequences in classical and quantum mechanics as well as electromagnetism, and significant programming experience. The course will make substantial use of differential equations and linear algebra.

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes

The goals of this course are (1) to understand how continuous equations can be broken down and solved approximately with finite computational steps; (2) to gain experience with basic, specific methods and algorithms used in computational physics; and (3) to learn how to apply computational methods to novel physics problems.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. carry out numerical calculations and create plots using Python
2. use numerical programming to solve a variety of standard physics problems
3. design and conduct an original, computationally-oriented project

Syllabus available here.