PHY102 - Physics Computations I
Maintained by Simon
Billinge, Phil Duxbury
All course materials, worksheets and solutions will be posted here.
Prof Simon Billinge- Rm 4268BPS, 355-9200x2202, email@example.com
Phil Duxbury - Rm 4260BPS, 355-9200x2301, firstname.lastname@example.org
should be completed in class and handed to a TA. In the event that you
cannot complete the worksheet in time, you must get it either
to Prof. Billinge, Duxbury or Andy by 5pm on the "due" date
posted below for it to be counted towards your grade. It should be printed
to an email.
1, week of Jan 19th, due Jan 26th (pdf)
Worksheet 2, week of Jan 26th, due Feb 2nd (pdf)
Worksheet 3, week of Feb 2nd, due Feb 9th (pdf)
Worksheet 4, week of Feb 9th due Feb 16th (pdf)
Worksheet 5, week of Feb 16th, due Feb 23rd (pdf)
Worksheet 6, week of Feb 23rd, due Mar 1st (pdf)
Worksheet 7, week of March 1st, due Mar 15th (pdf)
8th - 12th Spring Break!
Worksheet 8, week of March 15th, due Mar 22nd (pdf)
Worksheet 9, week of Mar 22nd, due March 29th (pdf)
Worksheet 10, week of Mar 29th, due April 5th (pdf)
Worksheet 11, week of April 5th, due April 12th (pdf)
Worksheet 12, week of April 12th, due April 19th (pdf)
Mock Exam, week of April 19th, Mock Exam
Exam week of April 26th
Physicists use mathematics
as a tool to model the universe. Think
of computers as our power-tools. This course, and the two subsequent
one credit classes in physics computations (PHY102, PHY201,
), are designed to teach you how to use these tools effectively
These power-tools allow us to study problems which are not tractable using
analytic mathematics (the usual kind). As with all power-tools, they
can also be used as labor saving devices to help solve problems that do
have analytic solutions (i.e., homework problems!). This course (PHY102)
concentrates on the use of Mathematica. Mathematica solves mathematical
problems and it includes a versatile graphical interface which allows you
to visualize the solutions as well. Mathematica can find solutions
to algebraic equations, it can do calculus and it can evaluate equations
numerically. It is a very powerful and useful general purpose program.
It is quirky to learn, but if you spend the time to "get over the hump"
and to become comfortable using it, it will be the gift that keeps on giving
throughout your undergraduate career and beyond. You are therefore encouraged
to get access to a computer with mathematica to practice and use it outside of
class-time. This is the only way to get really over that hump! Student versions
of mathematica are available to buy at the computer store. There is also an inexpensive
MSU site-license if there is a university owned computer you have access to.
During PHY102 you will apply Mathematica to general physics problems. Some
of the problems are drawn from
material covered in PHY183 and/or PHY193H. The power of mathematica allows
more complex problems to be solved than is possible using pen and paper. In
addition to the algebraically
solvable problems typically assigned in courses, you will also solve more
complex problems numerically. Examples include the non-linear pendulum,
motion in a gravitational field and chaos in simple maps. A weekly worksheet
forms the core of the course. You should set aside at least 2-3 hours
per week to work through the worksheet. You are required to attend
one lab session per week in Room 1240, Bio-medical Physical Sciences Building,
that will be staffed by a TA. Normally the completed worksheets will
be handed in at the end of this session.
Lab. Schedule - Room 1240 BPS
Tuesdays 10:30 am -1:30 pm:
Tuesdays 5-8 pm:
You should set aside at least 2 hours per week to work through the weekly
worksheet, though more may be required.
75% of the course grade will come from your attendance at
the labs and solution to the weekly worksheets. For each worksheet which
is not completed and handed in on time your grade is reduced by 0.5. If
you complete all the worksheets and attend all the labs you get a 3.0 grade. Missed
labs without a valid reason will result in a warning followed by a
reduction in grade of 0.5 for each subsequent missed lab. Worksheets
class will be accepted up until 5pm on the Monday following the week
the worksheet was assigned. Printed copies of the worksheet should be
delivered to Prof Billinge or Prof Duxbury's office (put it under the
door if they are not there) or hand to the TA. Under special circumstances
an extension can be granted if arrangements are made with Prof. Billinge of
BEFORE the deadline passes. Situations like these will be handled on
a case by case basis but worksheets won't be accepted after the deadline if
you have not obtained prior permission. Remember, your course grade-point
drops by 0.5 for each worksheet not completed and handed in
on time! Beyond the worksheets, there will be no homework assignments
for the course.
25% of the course 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 perform mathematica functions you have used in the worksheets during
the semester. Nothing new will be introduced. You will need to know how
to use the online help facility.
The lab. exam is intended to test how well you know mathematica.
If you know the basic commands well and work efficiently, you will finish
in the allocated 1 hr. That is, it is a timed test. You will be given a test
exam as worksheet 12 which will be similar to the final exam. The test exam
grading procedure is as follows (these are added to your worksheets' grade):
Less than two questions complete -> 0.0
Between two and four questions complete -> 0.5
Four or more questions complete -> 1.0
The lab. exam will be scheduled during your usual assigned lab slot.
The exam will be straightforward but timed. Successful students are those
who have practiced enough so as to not run into problems with puzzling 'bugs'
and "mathematic moments". Develop good programming practices early in the semester
and you can avoid many of these hassles.
There is no required text but you will only benefit from
this course if you can get access to a computer with Mathematica
installed where you can practice.
Recommended text: The Mathematica Book, by
Stephen Wolfram (Cambridge). This is a very comprehensive book written
by the author/inventor of Mathematica. It is primarily a reference
book. The most recent version (5th edition) is available online in its
entirety and is included in electronic form as part of the extensive online
help in the Mathematica program itself so there is not really any need
to buy it.
Recommended text: There are various Mathematica books written
by scientists and engineers which are not so pedagogical and more focussed
on how Mathematica can be used to solve science problems. One example
is Mathematica for Scientists and Engineers by Richard Gass (Prentice
Hall). Another is Mathematica for Physics by Robert L. Zimmerman and Fredrick
I. Olness (Addison-Wesley). There are numerous other ones. Mostly
they come with floppy discs or CD's containing examples so you don't have
to type them in by hand.
Helpfiles for PHY102
Mathematica has an awesomely powerful (and therefore non-trivial
to use) online help built in. Part of the course will be to learn how
to use this help effectively and you are encouraged and expected to use
the help whenever and wherever possible so you get comfortable and quick
at using it. This may prove to be important in the timed exam and
will pay big dividends as you use Mathematica later.
Getting started with Linux: Linux is the operating
system on these computers. For those of you who haven't heard of
it it is a free operating system for PCs that was developed first by Linus
Torvalds, a Finnish student (not much else to do in the winter up there
than write new operating systems), then by an international community of
free software freaks. It can be downloaded for free from the internet
and there is a lot of free software being developed by people all over the
world. Check out www.linux.org
and www.gnu.org to get a taste of what it
is all about. These days it is making its way into the mainstream and many
commercial concerns use it for web-servers and the like. Computers can also
be bought from DELL and other mainstream suppliers with linux preloaded. It
not familiar with unix then the "PHY102 Linux Help" might help. Modern versions
of linux look a lot like Microsoft windows which means that it is easier
to get started with unix/linux these days.
Starting mathematica: (a) in a terminal window (click on the "screen" icon at the bottom of the screen to get a terminal window) type
"mathematica" and hit return (b) using the mouse, click on the "foot" at
the bottom of the screen then holding the mouse button down slide the mouse
to select "programs" -> "applications" -> "wolfram mathematica"
Started: This is a Mathematica "notebook" with information about basic
Mathematica usage and some pitfalls to avoid. Download the file and save
it locally. Start Mathematica then load this notebook by mouse-clicking on
file->open. This notebook contains useful hints and examples of
common mistakes of first-time Mathematica users. The most common
mistakes are tiny tiny syntax errors that cause the program to go crazy.
Some syntax errors result in errors so you know there is a problem.
Others do not result in errors but the program calculates some meaningless
or incorrect expression and proudly presents you with lots of garbage on
the screen. Another thing that can trip you up is that Mathematica has
a very long memory. If you define a variable (e.g., y=Sin[x]) Mathematica
will remember forever, or until you explicitly redefine or clear the definition,
that y is sin(x). If, half an hour later, you use "x" in some other
context it can lead to some very interesting, unexpected and perplexing results.
The "getting started" notebook tells how to deal with this. You will
save yourself a lot of time in the long run by going through it.
Also try Introduction
(Written by Ellen Lau)
The computers in BPS1240 can be used for your classwork but remember
that other classes
use the lab and outside of our regular lab-times you are a guest. If
another instructor needs the computer or is lecturing you may be asked
to leave. Needless to say these computers are subject to the Physics Department
and the University acceptable use policies:
Please do not use the computers and the printer in 1240BPS for
things not related to your PHY102 classwork.
by appointment. Please contact Prof. Duxbury or Prof. Billinge by email or