Learn Fortran for Atomic/Particle Physics Grad Studies

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In summary, Fortran is a powerful programming language that is still used in some fields, but may not be as important as other languages. It can be difficult to escape from code written in Fortran, and exams can be difficult because of multiple choice questions. However, learning one language well can give you a strong foundation for when you encounter something new.
  • #1
anubis01
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Alright I'm a first year physics student whose goal is to get a masters or PHD in atomic or particle physics. However I've been talking to a lot of physics grad students and the all mention using Fortran in their research. Now I've gone over my courses and the only programming class I'm required to take is an introductory class for C++.

So my question's are where can I learn more about Fortran, Are there any self teaching guides to Fortran and how important is knowledge of Fortran in atomic/particle physics at the graduate Level.

Oh and on an unrelated note, what's your opinion on open book multiple choice physics midterms/exams.
 
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  • #2
Fortran is a dinosaur programming language. The problem is that a lot of code was written using it and so even today it's difficult to escape. I think the key as far as undergrad education goes is to learn at least one language very well, which will give you a solid base for when you encounter something new. I don't know what's best for particle physics.

As for exams, I've never really liked multiple choice exams - especially in physics. They force you to answer a problem with someone else's words, limiting you in your capacity to demonstrate what you know. As for the open book part, I have no issue with it.
 
  • #3
Don't worry about it. Once you know C++ you will be able to learn Fortan (or any other language) quite easily (and if you know C++ you can quite easily read Fortan code and understand what is going on).
Note that there are many versions of Fortan; many older scientist still use Fortan 77 which is a horrible -and outdated- language; so there isn't much point in learning it unless you are planing to use someone else's code or old libraries.
More recent version of Fortan such as Fortan 95 are quite a bit better. There are also more specialized versions such as high-performance Fortran which is used on e.g. Parallel computers.
Whether or not it is important really depends, what language people use tend to vary between fields, between different universities and sometimes even between different research groups at the same university.

But again, don't worry about it. Just make sure you learn one language (it really doesn't matter which one) properly , you can then quite easily learn a new one whenever you need to.
 
  • #4
phew, for a minute I was worried there. Thanks for the responses guys, its much appreciated.
 
  • #5
Well, fortran is a dinosour language, but its very powerfull if you want to do High Performance computing ..and believe me fortran is a language completely based on scientific computing ..:)..and it doesnot matter what u start ...if u do fortran u can learn c++ easily...
 
  • #6
Whatever language you choose to learn, you should at least know about object oriented programming.
 
  • #7
oops :)
 

Related to Learn Fortran for Atomic/Particle Physics Grad Studies

1. What is Fortran?

Fortran is a programming language that was specifically designed for scientific and engineering applications. It is widely used in the field of atomic and particle physics because of its ability to handle complex mathematical computations and large amounts of data.

2. Why is learning Fortran important for graduate studies in atomic/particle physics?

Fortran is a commonly used language in the field of atomic and particle physics, so having a strong understanding of it will allow you to efficiently work with existing code and develop new programs for your research. Additionally, many scientific journals require code to be written in Fortran for publication, making it an essential skill for graduate studies.

3. Are there any resources available for learning Fortran for atomic/particle physics graduate studies?

Yes, there are many resources available for learning Fortran for atomic/particle physics graduate studies. Some universities offer courses or workshops specifically focused on Fortran for scientific computing. There are also online tutorials, textbooks, and forums where you can learn and ask questions about Fortran.

4. Do I need prior programming experience to learn Fortran for atomic/particle physics graduate studies?

While prior programming experience can be helpful, it is not necessary to learn Fortran for atomic/particle physics graduate studies. Fortran has a relatively simple syntax and is designed for scientific applications, so with dedication and practice, it can be learned by anyone.

5. Can I use Fortran for other fields of research besides atomic/particle physics?

Yes, Fortran is a versatile programming language that can be used in various fields such as weather forecasting, computational chemistry, and financial modeling. However, it is most commonly used in scientific and engineering fields, making it a valuable skill for many research areas.

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