PH30055: Computational physics A
[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]
Academic Year:  2020/1 
Owning Department/School:  Department of Physics 
Credits:  6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits] 
Notional Study Hours:  120 
Level:  Honours (FHEQ level 6) 
Period: 

Assessment Summary:  CW 100% 
Assessment Detail: 

Supplementary Assessment: 

Requisites:  Before or while taking this module you must take PH20018 OR take PH20105 OR take PH20106 OR take PH20114 
Description:  Aims: The aims of this unit are to introduce students to the practical use of computer modelling as a complement to theoretical and experimental solution of physical problems, to introduce a contemporary package available to the modeller, and to explore topics in physics that lend themselves to computational modelling. Learning Outcomes: After taking this unit the student should be able to: * identify the strengths and weaknesses of a computational approach to modelling; * demonstrate a practical knowledge of the Maple computer algebra system; * construct Maple worksheets to analyse physical problems; * use computational modelling to perform indepth investigations into selected topics; * explain the methodology, relevant issues and output of the investigations performed. Skills: Written Communication T/F A, Numeracy T/F A, Data Acquisition, Handling, and Analysis T/F A, Information Technology T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A. Content: Introduction to computational modelling as a means of gaining physical insight: Contemporary applications of computer modelling. Computer algebra packages as a scientific computer environment: Problems solved effectively in this environment and those that are not. Practical introduction to Maple: Data structures; constants, variables, expressions, functions, lists, arrays and sets. Basic calculus; integration, differentiation, limits. Standard functions. Graphics. Data i/o. Solving equations; symbolic, numerical, systems of equations, ordinary differential equations. Linear Algebra. Programming; logic, loops, procedures. Exercises and projects based upon construction of Maple worksheets: Examples may include: Bound state problems in quantum physics by shooting method, basis set expansion. Coupled oscillators; normal modes, timeseries analysis. Planetary dynamics; orbit prediction, threebody problems, chaotic motion. Electrons in molecules and solids; linear combination of atomic orbitals, energy levels/bands, bonding/antibonding. Fractals; generation, characterisation via fractal dimension. Stochastic systems; random walkers, diffusion limited aggregation. Dynamics of nonlinear systems; logistic map, Lorentz equations, limit cycles, chaos. Percolation; cluster counting algorithms, percolation threshold. 
Programme availability: 
PH30055 is Optional on the following programmes:Department of Physics

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