Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 16:32:36 -0400

Author: "Warren Hein"

Subject: Study on Computational Physics


For Computing in Science and Engineering, the AIP magazine, we are conducting a study of the roles of computation in undergraduate physics curricula. We would like to invite you to come forward now at the outset of this study and identify yourself if you are using computation in your physics courses. Similarly, we would like to learn from you of others who are doing so but who may not hear this call. We will use this contact information to send you a brief survey, and its results to create a database from which we will draw a stratified sample of cases for further study.

The goal is a report on the landscape of computational practice and a representative account of exemplary cases. This report will be summarized at a special invited session of the AAPT Summer 2006 meeting in Syracuse, and a full account will be published in a special theme issue of Computing in Science and Engineering. That session will also contain other, related talks, including a sample of accounts of what is being done in particular institutions nationwide.

By computation in physics here we mean uses of computing that are intimately connected with content and not its presentation. There seems to be no concurrence on which role(s) are appropriate for computing in physics, but there is a distinction we can draw between computers used for instructional methodologies and computers used for computational physics. We are interested in the latter where, in analogy to calculus, computation is used to derive the solutions to problems.

We hope that you will be forthcoming. We cannot pursue every case in detail, but we can assure that every kind of voice will be represented. We believe that physics education must come to grips with the reality that computation is becoming an indispensable tool in every scientific and engineer field, and that as a custodian of scientific literacy, physics must respond to this reality.

We look forward to your participation in this study.

Norman Chonacky, CiSE Editor-in-Chief
David Winch, CiSE, Education Editor
Please send your email address and a brief description of your use of computation in physics courses directly to:

Professor Emeritus Robert G. Fuller
Physics Department
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0111

From Tue Oct 11 13:00:12 2005