Theoretical Physics on the Personal Computer

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9783642754739: Theoretical Physics on the Personal Computer

This book is based on the lecture course "Computer applications in Theo­ retical Physics", which has been offered at the University of Tiibingen since 1979. This course had as its original aim the preparation of students for a nu­ merical diploma course in theoretical physics. It soon became clear, however, that the course provides a valuable supplement to the fundamental lectures in theoretical physics. Whereas teaching in this field had previously been prin­ cipally characterised by the derivation of equations, it is now possible to give deeper understanding by means of application examples. A graphical presen­ tation of numerical results proves to be important in emphasizing the physics. Interaction with the machine is also valuable. At the end of each calculation the computer should ask the question: "Repeat the calculation with new data (yes/no )?". The student can then answer "yes" and input the new data, e.g. new starting values for position and velocity in solving an equation of motion. The programming of a user-friendly dialogue is not really difficult, but time consuming. At the beginning of the course the student therefore constructs only the numerical parts of the programs. The numerical parts are therefore deleted from the programs under consideration, and newly programmed by the student. Later on, the programming of the graphical output and of the dialogue is taught.Supplementary electronic material no longer available.

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