Computatioanl Physics (PH423-2C, Spring, 2014)

Course Description: Through this course students will learn various numerical methods apply them to a variety of physics problems in classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics, using MATLAB and other computer languages such as FORTRAN and C++. Students successfully completing this course will develop sufficient computational skills necessary to investigate basic physics problems numerically or to carry out simple computer simulations. 

Learning Objectives: Numerical algorithms to solve the follwoing methematical problems.
  • Differential and integral calculus
  • Ordinary differential equations
  • Linear/non-Linear Systems
  • Fourier fnalysis
  • Curve fitting
  • Eigenvalue problems
  • Pertial differential equations
  • Stochastic differential equations
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Monte Carlo simulation
Day and Time: Tue. & Thu. 11:00APM-12:15PM
Room: PH 394 (Del Square)
Instructor: Dr. Ryoichi Kawai
phone: (205) 934-3931
skype*: userid = ryoichikawai
* You must send your skype user ID to the instructor by email in advance or your call will be blocked.
Office Hour: Wed. 12:30-1:30pm
Course Website:

Course Schedule
List of Projects
Questions and Answers
Required Textbook  
A. Garcia: Numerical Methods for Physics
(Prentice Hall, 2nd ed. 1999)
ISBN-13: 978-0139067440

Messages from the Instructor
  • [01/07] Lecture Note 00 "Popular Mathematical Software" is updated. (download)

The use of MATLAB is required in this course. UAB has a site license and students are elligible to install MATLAB on their computer. Installation instruction is given at
Computer Languages
You can use your favorite computer language to solve homework and project problems. However, this course uses MATLAB in class. Therefore, students necessarily learn MATLAB. It is not intended to teach other computer languages in class. Students are responsible to learn the language by themself. Upon request the instructor may offer a short seminer on FORTRAN or C++ language outside of the class hours. Fortran and C++ compilers are readily availabe on the Linux system. Most of numerical tools are free on Linux. While some softwares are also availbe free on Microsoft Windows systems, not all of them are available on Windows. The use of :inux is strongly recommended. If you prefer to use C#, Java or Python, let the instructor know it.
Several homework problems will be given every week. Homework must be turned in electronically by email.  Allowed formats are MATLAB script file (.m), source codes in the standard text format such as .c and .f90 files so that the instructor can compile and excute the programs. Hand written documents must be scanned in PDF.
There is no paper exam. Students must submit two projects, one by February 28 and the other by April 22. Students can work on the porjects suggested by the instructors or propose their own projects with the instructor's permission.

Each project carries 30 pts and homework 40 pts. The total maximum possible points is 100 pts. All students must complete two projects and 75% of homework or receive F regardless of the scores. Letter grades are determined by the rule given in the table.
Grade Total Score
A 90 or above
B 80 or above
C 70 or above
D 60 or above
F Otherwise