How different are Computational physics and straight physics?

In summary, the courses for a Computational Physics degree at a US university would be:Year 1:CosmosComputing on the NetAtoms, Nuclei and MatterMathematics for Physical Scientists 1Investigative Physics 1Dynamics and RelativityMathematics for Physical Scientists 2Investigative Physics 2Electricity and Magnetism Vibrations and Waves Year 2:Quantum MechanicsTheoretical PhysicsTopics in PhysicsPractical Physics AComputing in PhysicsThermal PhysicsMechanics and Special RelativityPractical Physics BPhysics Applied
  • #1
zas240
7
0
Hello, I'm a UK user, I'm 15 but I'm in lower 6th thanks to being accelerated a year. I'm very interested in physics, but I was wondering how different are the BSc courses in Computational Physics and straight Physics. Thing is, I'm not sure I'm intelligent enough to do straight physics, but I am pretty good with computers, so I was wondering.

I'm doing Maths, Further maths, Physics, Computing and Geology AS (intending to do Maths Physics and Computing to A2)

any guidance would be appreciated :)
 
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  • #2
As far as I know there aren't any undergrad degrees in computational physics, and even if there were you would also need to be proficient in normal physics. You can't write a simulation to study some sort of physical phenomena without first understanding the underlying physics.

What sort of programming language do you know? It's one thing to be 'good' with computers, its a completely different ballgame when it comes to programming, which is what computational physics is.
 
  • #3
erm, well I'm pretty good with VB6 and I'm learning C# and C++ at the moment, and I've had a shot with Objective - C for iPhone apps, and I've still got another year of A level computing to go

and my local university (Cardiff) does
 
  • #4
Also, thanks for responding so quick :) its most helpful

(apologoies for the double post, hit the wrong button, damn being awake for 18 hours.)
 
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  • #5
Thing is, I'm not sure I'm intelligent enough to do straight physics
Mate,

you shouldn't really bother your self with the intelligence thing, its much better to think of [serious effort + keen interest] formula to be successful.

So don't use the 'intelligence' term to shake your self-confidence.As for computational physics, as has been mentioned earlier, its actually a kind of sub-field of Physics, it need not be any easier too.

My university (not in the UK) offers undergraduate physics degrees but in different flavors, bio-physics, particle physics etc... ,, they have more or less the same content for the first 3 or 4 semesters, and it gets somewhat different beyond that.

BTW, programming skills are nowadays required complementary skills for every physics student so its good that you are doing some programming.

:smile:
 
  • #6
Hm... Interesting! I took a look at the requirements for Physics and the 'Theoretical and Computational Physics' courses and here's what I can tell you

Required under the Physics degree is:

Year 1:

Cosmos
Computing on the Net
Atoms, Nuclei and Matter
Mathematics for Physical Scientists 1
Investigative Physics 1
Dynamics and Relativity
Mathematics for Physical Scientists 2
Investigative Physics 2
Electricity and Magnetism
Vibrations and Waves

Year 2:
Quantum Mechanics
Theoretical Physics
Topics in Physics
Practical Physics A
Thermal Physics
Mechanics and Special Relativity
Practical Physics B
Physics Applied
Physics of Solids and Soft Matter
Electromagnetism

Year 3:

Theoretical Physics Techniques
Optics and Fourier Transforms
Solid State Physics
Applications of Quantum Mechanics
Electromagnetic Radiation Detection
Statistical Mechanics
Physics of Semiconductor Devices
Chaos and Non-Linear Systems
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Physics Project

With a few electives.

Theoretical and Computational Physics: (I've bolded the differences)

Year 1:

Cosmos
Computing on the Net
Atoms, Nuclei and Matter
Mathematics for Physical Scientists 1
Investigative Physics 1
Dynamics and Relativity
Mathematics for Physical Scientists 2
Investigative Physics 2
Electricity and Magnetism
Vibrations and Waves

Year 2:

Quantum Mechanics
Theoretical Physics
Topics in Physics
[STRIKE]Practical Physics A[/STRIKE]
Computing in Physics
Thermal Physics
Mechanics and Special Relativity
[STRIKE]Practical Physics B[/STRIKE]
Physics Applied
Physics of Solids and Soft Matter
Electromagnetism

Year 3:

Theoretical Physics Techniques
Optics and Fourier Transforms
[STRIKE]Solid State Physics[/STRIKE]
Computational Physics
Applications of Quantum Mechanics
Electromagnetic Radiation Detection
Statistical Mechanics
[STRIKE]Physics of Semiconductor Devices[/STRIKE]
Chaos and Non-Linear Systems
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Physics ProjectOther than those subtle differences (I assume the practical physics classes means experimental lab time) you are basically doing the EXACT same stuff as a normal physics degree.
 
  • #7
I have searched some Computational Physics graduated program in Louisiana state university, Pennsylvania state university, Kansas state university, Illinois state university, Illinois at urban champaign. But, I don't know whether these universities educate well
 

Related to How different are Computational physics and straight physics?

1. What is the main difference between Computational Physics and straight Physics?

The main difference between Computational Physics and straight Physics is that Computational Physics uses computer simulations and numerical algorithms to study physical systems and phenomena, while straight Physics focuses on using mathematical principles and experimental methods to study the behavior of physical systems.

2. How does the approach to problem-solving differ in Computational Physics and straight Physics?

In Computational Physics, problems are solved using computer simulations and algorithms, which involve writing and running code. In straight Physics, problems are typically solved analytically using mathematical equations and principles.

3. Are there any similarities between Computational Physics and straight Physics?

Yes, there are several similarities between the two fields. Both Computational Physics and straight Physics use mathematical principles and models to understand and explain physical phenomena. They also both rely on experimentation and data analysis to test and validate theories.

4. What are some examples of applications for Computational Physics and straight Physics?

Some examples of applications for Computational Physics include weather forecasting, fluid dynamics simulations, and quantum mechanics simulations. Straight Physics is used in various fields, such as engineering, astronomy, and materials science, to study and understand physical systems and phenomena.

5. Can someone with a background in Computational Physics work in straight Physics and vice versa?

Yes, individuals with a background in Computational Physics can work in straight Physics and vice versa. While the two fields have different approaches, they both require a strong understanding of mathematical principles and the ability to analyze and interpret data. Many physicists also have a background in both Computational Physics and straight Physics.

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