Marie Lopez del Puerto, University of St. Thomas
There is strong agreement within the physics community as to the important role of computation in physics, but at the undergraduate level, finding room for it in an otherwise crowded curriculum is difficult. There are many ways in which to expose students to computational physics. In a majority of physics departments, there is a separate one-semester course in computational techniques. In some cases, when such a course is not offered, individual faculty have embedded computation into their existing physics courses on an ad hoc basis. A few schools have developed approaches that integrate computation throughout the curriculum.
In this session, I present one such approach, concentrating on the sophomore-level Modern Physics course whose laboratory serves as an introduction to computational physics at the University of St. Thomas. In this course, we use simulations written by the students in MATLAB to increase their understanding of the physical systems studied, to explore the limitations of theory, and to relate theory to experiment. I talk about the advantages and challenges of this approach, and show a few examples of course materials.
Recorded: 28 Mar 2012