Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 167, Issue 3–4, pp 997–1006 | Cite as

Interactive Computation for Undergraduates: The Next Generation



A generation ago (29 years ago), Leo Kadanoff and Michael Vinson created the Computers, Chaos, and Physics course. A major pedagogical thrust of this course was to help students form and test hypotheses via computer simulation of small problems in physics. Recently, this aspect of the 1987 course has been revived for use with first year physics undergraduate students at St. Olaf College.


Computational Physics Pedagogy Education 



I wish to thank Jason Engbrecht, Matthew Wiebold, and Jay Tasson for their work in helping design the St. Olaf computational curriculum and Sue Coppersmith, Tom Witten, and Michael Vinson for conversations about their experiences with the CCP course.


  1. 1.
    Coppersmith, S.N.: Chaos, complexity, and computers: object-oriented programming and physics concepts for undergraduates. J. Stat. Phys. 93(3/4), 1009–1018 (1998)ADSMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tobochnik, J., Gould, H.: An Introduction to Computer Simulation Methods, Parts 1 and 2. Addison-Wesley, Reading (1988)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kadanoff, L.P., Vinson, M.J., Kolan, A.J., Magnasco, M.: Computers in Physics. unpublished, 1991Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chabay, R., Sherwood, R.: Matter & Interactions. Wiley, Hoboken (2011)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Shier, J., Bourke, P.: An algorithm for random fractal filling of space. Comput. Graph. Forum 32(8), 89–97 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ennis, C.: (Always) room for one more. Math Horizons 23(3), 8–12 (2016)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cipra, B., Hanson, R., Kolan, A.: Periodic trajectories in right-triangle billiards. Phys. Rev. E 52(2), 2066–2071 (1995)ADSMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Baierlein, R.: Newtonian Dynamics, pp. 191–194. McGraw-Hill, New York (1983)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Case, W.: Parametric instability: an elementary demonstration and discussion. Am. J. Phys. 48, 218 (1980)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsSt. Olaf CollegeNorthfieldUSA

Personalised recommendations