Computational Physics  
Description: The goal of this course is to introduce students to computational methods for simulating physical systems and solving problems arising in physics and astronomy, as well as in other related fields. Students carry out their work primarily using the MATLAB computing language. The emphasis of the course will be on using computational methods to solve physical problems that cannot be handled analytically.
Topics covered include interpolation, numerical integration, random numbers and random processes, differential equations, and partial differential equations.
Course material created by Pete Schloerb and Min Yun.
Target audience: Introductory undergraduate (1st or 2nd year)
Institution: University of Massachusetts
Materials available: Problem sets or projects, Course outline or syllabus, Downloadable code or data files
Products: MATLAB

Submitted: Jul 22, 2008
Dynamical Astronomy  
Description: This course teaches concepts in comutational dynamical astronomy, such as calculating the mass of an isolated n-body system and modeling the trajectories of binary stars. The course MATLAB and Hipgal (a PC program for extracting data from the Hipparcos Catalogue) for simulations and analyses.

List of topics: Newtonian gravitation and dynamics. Reference systems and units. Galactic coordinates. Astrometry and the determination of the distances, motions and distribution of stars. The HR diagram and the colours, luminosities and ages of stars. Stellar kinematics. The solar motion and the Local Standard of Rest. The rotation curve, differential galactic rotation and Oort's constants. Non-circular motions. The galactic potential and galactic orbits. The phase space, collisionless Boltzmann equation and Jeans' equations. Dynamical determination of masses and mass densities.

Material created by Lennart Lindegren and Melvyn B. Davies.
Target audience: Advanced undergraduate (3rd or 4th year)
Institution: Lund University (Sweden)
Materials available: Problem sets or projects, Lab materials, Downloadable code or data files
Products: MATLAB

Submitted: Sep 05, 2008

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