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Unit information: Introduction to Computational Physics in 2020/21

Unit name Introduction to Computational Physics
Unit code PHYS30009
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Hanna
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


The aim of this course is to develop students understanding of numerical techniques, and gain experience in programming in a computer language. Students will gain experience of using computers to solve physics problems and also develop report writing and analysis skills.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will be able to

  • Write simple computer code using the Python programming language
  • Develop mathematical algorithms in Python
  • Apply algorithms to solve Physical problems
  • Concisely describe the purpose and function of computer code.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials, including narrated presentations and worked examples
  • synchronous group problems classes, workshops, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative exercises and other exercises
  • guided, structured reading

Assessment Details

Formative assessment is available through the drop in sessions and through the graded summative exercises: short exercises, each consisting of the code plus a brief outline of the methodology and presentation of the results. Coursework (100%).

Reading and References

“Numerical Recipes” – Press et al. ISBN: 9780521880688

“An introduction to Computer simulation methods” – Gould, Tobochnik, Christian (3rd ed).ISBN-13: 978-0805377583

“An Introduction to Computational Physics” – Pang.978-1840858839