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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joseph E Rothberg
PHYS 232
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Computational Physics

Computational techniques applied to physics and data analysis in laboratory setting. Emphasis on numerical solutions of differential equations, least square data fitting, Monte Carlo methods, and Fourier Analysis. A high-level language taught and used; no previous computing experience required. Prerequisite: PHYS 227.

Class description

Students will learn to use Matlab in a physics context. Examples will include orbital motion, radioactive decay, Fourier analysis (sound, optics), data analysis, Monte Carlo (random number) simulation methods, graphics.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

There will be two lectures per week on computing issues and on the physics background material. A scheduled conference hour will permit students to complete and submit assignments while getting individual help on computing problems.

Recommended preparation

No prior computing experience is expected. Students should have taken Physics 227.

Class assignments and grading

A short programming project will be assigned each week. This will usually involve some analysis and writing a program and making plots. A term project will be due at the end of the quarter. The instructor will suggest topics.

The weekly assinments, one mid-term exam, and the term project will determine the grade. They will be weighted equally.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Joseph E Rothberg
Date: 03/18/2008