Note: this page is in the process of being updated from last year's PHY 201 page, so some material may not be precisely true for this year's class. This notice will be removed when the updating is complete.

PHY201 - Physics Computations II

All course materials and worksheets will appear here.


  • Prof. Jon Pumplin - Office 3240 BPS Bldg., (517) 355-9200 ext. 2126,

    Course Outline

    This one-credit course is the second of three lab-style courses (PHY102, PHY201, PHY301) designed to teach undergraduate physics students how to use computers to solve physics problems. PHY102 emphasizes the use of Mathematica. PHY201 develops your knowledge of programming in Fortran 90, with occasional use of Mathematica. PHY301 covers C++ , also with some use of Mathematica.

    Course Assessment

  • 75% of your grade will come from your solution to the weekly worksheets. For each worksheet that is not completed, your grade is reduced by 0.5. If you complete all the worksheets but do not do the lab. exam, you get a 3.0 grade.
  • 25% of your grade will come from a one hour practical exam at the end of the semester. This exam will be held in the last week of semester during your regular lab. time. In the exam you will be asked to write simple Fortran code and to use Mathematica. Nothing new will be introduced. You will need to know how to use the online help facilities.

    PHY201 and PHY301 will meet simultaneously in Room 1240 BPS (Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building).

    There are no lectures: the class is entirely hands-on-keyboard. There are two class sessions, but you may find it possible to complete the assignments on Thursday. If so, you do not need to attend the shorter session on Friday. Class times:
    3:30pm - 6:30pm Thursday
    4pm - 5pm Friday

    The worksheets

    Worksheet 1 - due Sept 5 at 5pm.
    Worksheet 2 - due Sept 12 at 5pm.
    Worksheet 3 - due Sept 19 at 5pm.
    Worksheet 4 - due Sept 26 at 5pm.
    Worksheet 5 - due Oct 10 at 5pm.
    Worksheet 6 - due Oct 24 at 5pm(two weeks for this worksheet).
    Worksheet 7 - due Oct 31 at 5pm.
    Worksheet 8 - due Nov 7 at 5pm(two weeks for this worksheet).
    Worksheet 9 - due Nov 21 at 5pm(two weeks for this worksheet).
    Exam information - Dec. 4 at 3:30pm

    Reference materials

  • Introduction to Linux Computing in 1240BPS.
  • Introduction to Mathematica (Written by Ellen Lau)

  • Text that will be followed quite closely: "An introduction to Fortran 90 for scientific computing", by James M. Ortega.
  • There are many online introductions to fortran. Introduction to Fortran Reference Manual introduces Fortran 77 and gives links to online fortran tutorials and other resources, written by Aleks Donev.
  • Key www site: Numerical recipes online . You will need to read some sections of this book.
  • A www site with lots of free fortran stuff.
  • "Fortran 90/95 explained" second edition. by Michael Metcalf and John Reid. Oxford University Press, 1999. More advanced than Ortega and more recent. Buy it if you are serious about scientific computing.