Computational Physics, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 0-13-146990-8 Publisher: Prentice Hall
Nicholas J. Giordano (bio)
Hisao Nakanishi (bio)
Department of Physics, Purdue University
525 Northwestern Aveue, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2036
Prentice-Hall web page for this book

Briefly about the book:

This new edition of Computational Physics expands the original greatly on both the range of the physics problems treated and the numerical algorithms described. It contains a whole new chapter on the physics of music as well as several new sections such as those discussing the scaling in phase transitions, coupled nonlinear oscillators, two-dimensional time-dependent Schroedinger equation, real neurons, and cellular automata. In addition, a series of self-contained appendices that elaborate on the various numerical algorithms and theories behind them are given including one that discusses the solution of linear systems, a topic that was little touched in the original edition.

View the Table of Contents

View the bood-end Index

View the Preface to the 2nd Edition

Sample programs

Some sample programs are available in True Basic or Fortran. However, please note that they are provided only to guide you in suggesting some particular ways to implement the strategies given in the book and not intended as the model or exemplarly programs at all. They clearly show the authors' prejudices and background, and they may even still contain some bugs. So please be warned. You may access them

from this page, or for each chapter and appendix from below:

Supplementary Material created by Dr. Kevin Berwick

Dr. Kevin Berwick of Dublin Institute of Technology created a large compendium of sample programs in MATLAB, covering many examples in the text of the book as well as some in the problem excercises:

Computational Physics using MATLAB (Version 2)

Included among the various videos linked on his following page is a video Dr. Berwick has put together showcasing some of his programs on the book material, including movies of the wave functions for two-dimensional, time-dependent Schrödinger Equation:

Computational Physics Video

Some general comments

As discussed in the book, the language choice is always an issue in numerical work. Although sample programs provided in these web pages are mostly in True Basic and Fortran. (A free compiler for many languages including Fortran is available in GCC.) We are not promoting either of these languages. They are used simply because they have certain strengths that make them useful as samples (such as the good built-in graphics in True Basic and the wide-spread familiarity with Fortran among the scientists). Over the years of our teaching a course based on these materials, many students used other languages to great effects, such as Java, Python (VPython, a 3D graphics enabled Python), C, and C++.

We consider graphical presentation of the results to be an important part of much of the numerical work. This is not only true for the demonstration purposes and for quick grasp of the main features of the results, but also true even for most demanding numerical calculations in some cases. As a result we include graphics in many of the sample programs/algorithms in the book and in these web pages. Some languages (such as Java and True Basic) have built-in graphics, but others lack them (such as Fortran and C). In the latter case, the choice is usually either to link to a graphics subroutine library or use your programs to produce/save numerical data only and then plot them later with a stand-alone graphics software. Both approaches are perfectly acceptable as long as you have a way of visualizing the results in the end.

Corrections, remarks, and comments

Mistakes and typos: nobody is perfect - errors are bound to be found either by us authors or by you the reader. As we collect them along with your remarks and comments, we will compile them. Please click Errata to view them. (Printable version) Any error is too many, but with your help, we already caught a fair number of them. We hope to correct them if we get a chance for a second printing, or certainly for a third edition if one comes along.

If you find an error or would like to make some comments on the material, please inform us by email or other means, via the address given above, or simply click Nick Giordano or Hisao Nakanishi.