Computational Physics

Physics 4301/5322

Course Outline

Spring Semester 2012

Instructor: Thomas L. Gibson      Office: Sc 27      Phone:742-1606
OfficeHours: 10:00-11:00 (M-Th)
Web page:

Required Text: Numerical Methods for Physics, 2nd Edition, by Alejandro L. Garcia (Prentice Hall, 2000).
Recommended Texts: Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data with Graphs, by Philipp K. Janert (Manning Publications, 2009)  ISBN-13: 978-1933988399, and Engineering Problem Solving with C++, by D.M. Etter and J.A. Ingber (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008) ISBN-13:978-0-13-601175-0.

Important Notes

Grading Policy

Students taking this course for graduate credit under Phys 5322 will have longer and more challenging assignments than students enrolled under Phys 4301. Since there are no formal exams, each student's course grade will be based on how well the assigned work is accomplished. However, no one should expect a high grade based on simply doing the minimum for each assignment; correct, but perfunctory work is, at best, average.
Unannounced quizzes may be given at the discretion of the instructor. Grades on these quizzes will be used to assign bonus points.
Credit Breakdown:
Project Writeup:50%
Demonstration of Program:50%
Late Homework:
Grading Scale
I do use +/- grades one point either side of a grade boundary, e.g., grades of 90 or 91 earn a B+ while grades of 92 or 93 earn an A-.

Course Goals
This course is intended to acquaint students with the basic use of numerical methods for use in science and engineering environments.
Expected Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Write programs to apply basic numerical methods.
  2. Display information in graphical or tabular formats.
  3. Convey technical information with precision and concision.
Methods for Assessing the Expected Learning Outcomes
The expected learning outcomes for the course will be assessed through:
Guided Classroom Exercises, In-Class Demonstration of Programming Projects, Critique of Writeup for each Programming Project.

Writeup and Demonstration of Program

The writeup should be no more than five pages maximum including any graphical output. Each writeup should contain the following labelled sections:
The demonstration of your program will consist of the instructor sitting at one of the workstations and running your code with you present. Quality of the user interface, ease of use, error trapping, and accuracy will determine this portion of your grade.
Here is a checklist for each of your assignments.

Strategy for Success

This page designed and maintained by t.l. gibson

Page last modified January 16, 2012
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