Exploring Computational Physics: Is C++/Python Necessary?

In summary, the conversation discusses the benefits of learning complex numerical methods with C++/Python versus using specialized software like Mathematica for computational physics. The general consensus is that if cost is not a problem, Mathematica is the preferred option due to its versatility and established language. However, for those on a budget, Python and Octave are also mentioned as viable alternatives. The speaker also recommends the book "Computational Methods for Physics" and personally uses Maple due to their employer's site license.
  • #1
zoltrix
69
7
hello

I am interested in computational physics at an amateur level
is it worth while learning complex numerical methods with C++ /Python to solve partial differential equations as well as for other physical applications while a software such as mathematica can do the job for you ?
 
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  • #2
IMO, if there is a well-established, specialized language targeted at your application, it is easier to use. If cost is not a problem, use Mathematica.
 
  • #3
FactChecker said:
If cost is not a problem, use Mathematica.
I second this. Mathematica is very versatile and you will be able to get much more out of it.

If you chose to go with Mathematica, I recommend the book Computational Methods for Physics by Joel Franklin.
 
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Likes aaroman, vanhees71 and FactChecker
  • #4
I got Mathematica in 1995 and I continue to use it today for exploring physics.
 
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Likes DrClaude, vanhees71 and FactChecker
  • #5
A less expensive alternative is Python. As Mathematica it provides both computer algebra and numerics.
 
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Likes aaroman and Dale
  • #6
Octave is fun too, it is basically a free version of Matlab
 
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  • #7
For a very pragmatic reason, I use Maple. My employer has a site license, so I get for free the full version on my office desktop, and on my laptop. I have made extensive use of this both professionally and recreationally.
 
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Likes vanhees71

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