[Edu-sig] Advice: is python suitable?

Hans Fangohr H.FANGOHR at soton.ac.uk
Thu Oct 7 18:36:43 CEST 2004

Dear Peter,

> This is semi off-topic, so I'd better introduce myself :-)
> I'm studying physics at the University of Southampton, and joined this list 
> as I hope to use my final year project to create physics simulations in 
> Python to aid students, or (even better) write course material to teach the 
> students how to think about the physics concepts (and program at the same 
> time...).  That is still a year away, and I've not experimented much with 
> Python yet to see how feasible it would be to do this kind of thing.
> This year I'm taking a course in computational physics, which allows the use 
> of any programming language.  The notes however are skewed towards the 
> department's in-house languages (variations on BASIC and C).  I'm hoping one 
> of you could look at the course notes and tell me if there's anything here 
> that is not possible to do in Python?  They are at 
> http://www.phys.soton.ac.uk/teach/year3/notes/ph314/notes/phys3006b.pdf for 
> the BASIC version, and 
> http://www.phys.soton.ac.uk/teach/year3/notes/ph314/notes/phys3006c.pdf for 
> the C version.

I have taken part in this module (in 1996) ;-). It is actually a very
good introduction to computer simulations and physics (in my mind).

The modified versions of C and Basic are very close to Python: they
provide high-level constructs to generate graphs etc. The teacher of
that module did a good job in providing these (and he did that long
before Python became well known).

In short, if you look at matplotlib for plotting, you should be able
to do all the exercises.

Best wishes,


Dr Hans Fangohr

Computational Engineering & Design Research Group
School of Engineering Sciences
University of Southampton
Southampton, SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Location: Building 25, Room 1027
phone : +44 (0) 23 8059 8345
fax   : +44 (0) 23 8059 7082
email : fangohr at soton.ac.uk

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