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Teaching Physics with MATLAB: Simulations and Experiments

Dr. Marie Lopez del Puerto, University of St. Thomas

In this webinar, Dr. Marie Lopez del Puerto describes many ways in which to expose students to computational physics. In a majority of physics departments, there is a separate one-semester course in computational techniques. In some cases, when such a course is not offered, individual faculty have embedded computation into their existing physics courses on an ad hoc basis. A few schools have developed approaches that integrate computation throughout the curriculum.

Dr. Lopez del Puerto presents one such approach, concentrating on the sophomore-level Modern Physics course with a laboratory that serves as an introduction to computational physics at the University of St. Thomas. In this course, we use simulations written by the students in MATLAB to increase their understanding of the physical systems studied, to explore the limitations of theory, and to relate theory to experiment. She talks about the advantages and challenges of this approach, and shows a few examples of course materials.

About the Presenter: Dr. Marie Lopez del Puerto is an assistant professor in the Physics Department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her research interests include the structural, optical, and electronic properties of nanoscale systems, computational physics, and physics and engineering education. She has a B.S. in physics from Universidad de las Americas - Puebla in Puebla, Mexico, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Recorded: 27 Nov 2012