Physics 780.20 "Computational Physics"
Winter, 2012

General Information about 780.20 Computational Physics

Course title:
Computational Physics
Main References:
There is no required text but there will be readings for each class session from handouts passed out in class and background notes posted online. We'll supplement these with readings from:
Other References:
The prerequisites are simply physics at least through the undergraduate 26x series (although some have successfully taken the course concurrently with 262!). It will be useful but not necessary to have some experience with one or more of Mathematica, MATLAB, Python, C, fortran, or C++. The teaching strategy is to give you computer programs and have you run and then modify (or debug) them as you follow along through worksheets. Email or visit Prof. Furnstahl if you're concerned about your preparation (e.g., if you have no experience at all).
We'll start with an overview based on the first part of the Hjorth-Jensen lecture notes and then cover selections from the rest of the notes plus topics based on the instructors' latest prejudices and class interest (the latter to be determined!). In most cases the discussion will be framed by a physics topic such as nonlinear oscillations (e.g., chaos). We'll be using programs written in C++ and Python and occasionally Matlab or Mathematica as we go along. Some topics we will cover along the way:
Computing Environment:
The general idea is to use basic and portable tools. The homepage will have details about setting these up on your personal computer.
Prof. Richard Furnstahl
office: M2048 PRB
email: or
phone: 292-4830 (office) or 847-4026 (home)
1094 Consultant:
Chris Orban
office: 4124 PRB
phone: 292-2086 (office)
Computer Consultant:
Terry Bradley
office: 1199 PRB
phone: 292-8598 (PRB office) or 292-4269 (Stillman Hall)
Class meets MW from 11:30am to 1:30pm in Smith 1094. Each period will primarily be a hands-on lab session (after a short lecture/question part).
Office Hours:
By appointment (asking in class is easiest) and Fridays
[to be announced] (Furnstahl)
[to be announced] (Orban)
In-class worksheets [30%]
Assigned homework ("handed in" via Mercurial) [40%]
Project [30%]
Web Pages:
This info:
Course home page:

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.
[OSU Physics] [Math and Physical Sciences] [Ohio State University]
Physics 780.20 Computational Physics Information.
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