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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…)