Computer modeling has had a significant impact on the way we do physics, both in research and in teaching. We are able to study problems of all scales from atoms to galaxies, and of complexities that would be impossible without computer modeling. Computation has even led to an entirely new field of science, chaos. In many ways, computational modeling has become the third pillar of physics alongside experimentation and theory.

In this book, we introduce computational modeling and visualization of physical systems that are commonly found in physics and related areas. Our first and foremost goal is to introduce a framework that integrates model building, algorithm development, and data visualization for problem solving via scientific computing. Through carefully selected problems, methods, and projects, the student is guided to learning and discovery by actively doing rather than just knowing physics. By constructing models and algorithms, programming and testing them, and analyzing the results, we will gain insight, ask new questions, tweak the model as necessary, and change the parameters to test what-if scenarios like turning knobs in a virtual experiment. Another goal is to broaden the scope and depth of problems that may be studied with computational modeling. Many fundamental physical systems, despite their apparent simplicity, are beyond reach without computer simulation. Take projectile motion with air resistance and quantum free fall, for example. Though the problems ...

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