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About the Author
Christopher John Pecoraro is an experienced web application developer born
near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning his BS. degree in computing and
information science at Saint Vincent College in 1999, the majority of his career has
centered around web application development in both the United States and Europe.
He is a conference speaker, open source contributor, and an author. His research
work includes biomedical informatics and machine translation, and he is a coauthor
of several peer-reviewed publications. His native language is English and he speaks
fluent Italian; he has visited many countries, and his noncareer interests are travel
About the Author
Christopher John Pecoraro is an experienced web application developer born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning his BS. degree in computing and information science at Saint Vincent College in 1999, the majority of his career has centered around web application development in both the United States and Europe.
He is a conference speaker, open source contributor, and an author. His research work includes biomedical informatics and machine translation, and he is a coauthor of several peer-reviewed publications. His native language is English and he speaks fluent Italian; he has visited many countries, and his noncareer interests are travel and cuisine.
Programming Physical Problems
Using Mathematica and C
by. Wolfgang Kinzel, Georg Reents
Nowadays the computer is an important tool in physics. The acquisition and analysis of extensive experimental data and the control of complex experiments are hardly imaginable without the use of computers. In theoretical
physics the computer has turned from a mere calculator to a comprehensive tool. Graphical displays, numerical and algebraic solutions of equations, and extensive simulations of microscopic models have become important methods for the exploration of the laws of physics.
The computer, however, is not just a tool, it also offers new perspectives and opens new areas of research. Until recently physicists generally described nature with differential equations; nowadays discrete algorithms are also used.
For some apparently simple physical models there are only numerical answers so far. We know universal laws that any high school student can reproduce on a pocket calculator, for which there is, however, no analytical theory (yet?).
In addition to this, the computer opens up new fields to physics: neural networks, combinatorial optimization, biological evolution, formation of fractal structures, and self-organized criticality are just some of the topics from the growing field of complex systems. (more…)
by: Rubin H. Landau
Professor of Physics Oregon State University
Applying computer technology is simply finding
the right wrench to pound in the correct screw.
This is not the book I thought I’d be writing. When, about a decade ago, I initiated the discussions that led to our Computational Physics course, I thought we would teach mainly physics in it. The Computer Science Department, I
thought, would teach the students what they needed to know about computers, the Mathematics Department would teach them what they needed to know about numerical methods and statistics, and I would teach them what I knew
about applying that knowledge to solve physics problems using computers.
That’s how I thought it would be. But, by and large, I have found that the students taking our Computational Physics course do not carry the subject matter from these other disciplines with them, and so a lot of what I have put into this book is material that, in a more perfect world, would be taught and written by experts in other fields. (more…)
by Benjamin Crowell
Learning to Hate Physics?
When you read a mystery novel, you know in advance what structure to expect: a crime, some detective work, and finally the unmasking of the evildoer. Likewise when Charlie Parker plays a blues, your ear expects to hear certain landmarks of the form regardless of how wild some of his notes are. Surveys of physics students usually show that they have worse attitudes about the subject after instruction than before, and their comments often boil down to a complaint that the
person who strung the topics together had not learned what Agatha Christie and Charlie Parker knew intuitively about form and struc-ture: students become bored and demoralized because the “march through the topics” lacks a coherent story line. You are reading the first volume of the Light and Matter series of introductory physics textbooks, and as implied by its title, the story line of the series is built around light and matter: how they behave, how they are different from each other, and, at the end of the story, how they turn out to be similar in some very bizarre ways.