Physics 401  -  Computational Physics

Homepage and Syllabus

(Texas A&M University, Spring 2013)

   Announcements (updated regularly)

    Tue+Thu  05:30-06:45pm , Room: MPHY-213
     (1st class: Tue Jan 15, last class: Thu Apr 25; Spring Break: Mar 11-15, Reading Day: Good Friday Mar 29)

       Course Instructor
Dr. Ralf Rapp
    Office        :
Mitchell Physics Building (MPHY) Room 313
    Office-Hrs : Mon+Tue 10:00-11:00am, Thu 3-4pm and by appointment
    Phone        : 458-5567
    E-mail       :

      Teaching Assistant (Homework Grader)
     Office: tba
     E-mail:  tba

       Required Material and Prerequisite
     1.)  TEXTBOOK:
           The course will be based on the book
           "Computational Physics", 2nd edition, by Nicholas N. Giardano and Hisao Nakanishi
homepage (including sample programs etc.): click
      2.)  Prerequisites:
             - MATH 311 or 409 (or registration therein)
          - Basic knowledge to program in Fortran (or registration in CPSC 203) and to use Gnuplot
          - University-issued computer account

      3.)  Links to Fortran Tutorials/Guides:
             e.g.:  - User Notes on Fortran Programming
                   - Professional Programmer's Guide to Fortran77
                   - Clive Page's page update

4.)  Links to Gnuplot Tutorials
          e.g.: - Engineering Department Duke University


         Scope and Objectives
    The course will cover an introduction to, and more advanced applications of, computational
    (numerical) methods in theoretical physics. In particular, the student will learn to develop
    algorithms for numerical solutions to a wide range of physical systems which are not (easily)
    amenable to analytic treatments, including drag forces, oscillatory and planetary motion,
    electromagnetic potential boundary problems, waves, random systems, statistical mechanics
    with phase transitions, and quantum mechanics. The student will learn to convert the algorithms
    into codes to obtain quantitative results, and to assess their reliability and accuracy. The emphasis
    in numerically solving a physics problem is on simplicity, reliability, comprehension and transparency,
    not on using the most sophisticated computational/visualization tools.
    The detailed SYLLABUS for the lectures can be found here.

       Course Grade
  The total course grade is decomposed as follows:


        Notes on Lectures
    Attendance in the lectures, as well as taking notes of the material presented, is mandatory. In particular,
    the midterm and final exams will be heavily based on the material discussed in the lectures. Furthermore,
    you are responsible for all announcements made
in class (including the regular homework assignments).
    The material discussed in the lectures defines the scope of the homework problems and exam


     Note on Homework
    For the weekly assignment of homework problems (usually given as handout in class), click here.
   Unless otherwise noted, homework is assigned in class and due in class  approx. 7-10 days later.
   Late hand-in will be penalized by subtracting 25% of the score per day late.
   Personal computers to program and run source code are available in room MPHY-152 (your TAMU ID
   card should be activated for access; if you encounter problems check with the Physics computing office).

   Cooperative work and discussions are encouraged, but every student must generate and hand in his/her
   individual solution set by the due date. Questions can be addressed to your course
instructor or teaching
   assistant, who will be happy to help you (preferably during, but not restricted to, office hours)

  To pass the course, you will have to keep up with the material of the course by attending the lectures
  and thoroughly working
through the near-weekly homework assignments. The course material
  subsequently builds on earlier chapters.


       AGGIE Honor Code
  An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do. Also see
  Any type of cheating (e.g., copying homework or during the exams) is  strictly prohibited and
  seriously penalized.

       ADA  Statement
  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides
  comprehensive civil rights
protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation
  requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a
learning environment that provides for
  reasonable accommodation of their
disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an
  accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, Services
for Students with Disabilities,
  in Cain Hall, Room B118 or
  call 845-1637; for more info see also here.  Department of Student Life,
  SSD, will review your concerns and determine, with
you, what accommodations are necessary and
  appropriate. All information and
documentation concerning disability is kept confidential.