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Computational Astrophysics

  1. Mar 12, 2009 #1
    I know roughly what Computational Astrophysics is but if someone would like to explain it in depth it would be appreciated.

    To me this seems like a cool field of study and I want to consider doing graduate research on this. Are there are particular classes I MUST take as an undergrad to succeed in this field? I was doing a CS degree before switching to physics, what if I majored it both, would it help? Or at least minored in CS? I don't really want to do either as I'd like to finish up undergrad in a reasonable time but if it will make a big difference going into grad school I'd have to consider it.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2009 #2
    I am taking an undergraduate computational astrophysics course right now. There are some basic prerequisites, such as familiarity with calculus, but this is a requirement for pretty much and physics class. CS class will help, but perhaps not too much. The material is such that one can learn the programming language on the fly, and not have a whole lot of trouble. There are several CS majors in my class, and I am the only astronomy major. Both majors can succeed in this class.

    The field of Computational Astrophysics covers every field of astronomy. The course I am taking is essentially an introductory course in numerical analysis, but in the context of astrophysics. Basically, the class teaches you how to use a computer to solve a problem that may otherwise not have an analytic solution.

    For example, right now, we are learning how to do numerical integration. Many techniques introduced should be familiar to anyone with experience in calculus 1, however now we can get accurate estimates due to the power of computers.
     
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