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Introductory Computational Physics


Course Placement

Introductory Computational Physics is a core course offered to second year students of B.Tech Hons. ICT (Minor in Computational Science) program. It is a pre-requisite for course on Modeling and Simulation.

Course format

  • 3 hours lecture per week.
  • 3 hours lab per week. LAB 207. (Software : MATLAB)

 Course content

This is a calculus based introductory computational physics course aimed to develop insight into solving problems using Newton’s laws of motion and basics principles of mechanics. Course focuses on topics such as fundamental concepts of classical mechanics, oscillations, dynamics of system of particles and rigid bodies.

Approach to be followed:

problem→theory→model→Compuational implementation (MATLAB)→ assessment and analysis

Text Books

Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, 5th edition, S. T. Thornton and J. B. Marion, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Classical Mechanics, 3rd  Edition, H. Goldstein, C. Poole, and J. Safko, Pearson India, 2011.

Any MATLAB book.

Assessment method/ Grading

Theoretical/Exam: Two mid-semester examinations and a final examination: 65% (20+20+25)

Lab207: Lab Assignment/ report submission: 30% + 5% (attendance)

Grading scheme is relative and depends on both: class performance and minimum expectation from a student.

Course Outcomes

Introductory Computational Physics course will help the students to analyze and model simple mechanical systems using both Newtonian mechanics and, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approaches. The course will also prepare the students to build computational models to investigate dynamical system.

After completing this course a student will have the ability

  • To understand and analyze motion in real world surroundings using a small set of powerful fundamental principles. The course will enhance the student’s problem solving skills.
  • To design, model and investigate complex engineering problems.

Kindly find the detailed course structure here:

—————————————————— Course content ——————————————————

Introduction to MATLAB required for this course: 2 lectures

Sl. No. Description
1 Review of important Mathematical Concepts
1.1 Matrices
1.2 Vector Algebra Vector Calculus
1.3 Problem Solving : examples; Uranium decay
2 Elementary Mechanics
2.1 Newtonian Mechanics: Single Particle
2.2 Basic Kinematic Quantities. Conservation Theorems
2.3 Problem Solving
3 Oscillations and Motion
3.1 Simple harmonic oscillator (undamped, damped, driven cases)
3.2 Nonlinear Oscillations
3.3 Gravitation
3.4 Motion of charged particles
3.5 Solar system; Kepler’s Laws
3.6 Applications and Problem Solving
4 Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics
4.1 Lagrangian approach to Mechanics
4.2 Variational calculas , Eulers Equations
4.3 Hamiltonian Dynamics
4.4 Configuration and phase space
4.5 Examples and Problem Solving
5 Rotational Motion and Rigid Bodies
5.1 Central Force Motion. Rotating frames
5.2 Dynamics of a System of Particles
5.3 Dynamics of Rigid bodies
5.4 Introduction to Coupled Oscillations and Waves
5.5 Waves on a string
5.6 Random systems (optional)
5.7 Problem Solving and Discussion.