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Programming for undergrad physics major

  1. May 4, 2013 #1
    I'm starting my undergraduate degree in physical/mathematical sciences at the University of Toronto in the fall. My long-term goal at this point is a career in academia, probably theoretical physics, but I don't want to close any doors on the experimental side. Other than coursework, I would like to volunteer with a research group. Are there any programming languages that I should self-study before I get there? U of T's physics curriculum doesn't seem too heavy on computational physics but I want to be well-prepared.

    Also - tangentially related - are there any software programs with a steep learning curve that I should start learning now?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2013 #2


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    Education Advisor

    Well, there's quite a few programming languages you can and should learn. I tend to recommend python, because it's extremely useful and relatively easy to learn. Once you learn one language, learning more becomes a bit more simple.

    On the software side, it wouldn't hurt to learn a basic mathematical program like matlab, mathematica, maple and on the statistical side SAS or R(it's free!).
  4. May 4, 2013 #3
    Thank you, that's very helpful!
  5. May 5, 2013 #4
    C++, learning to read fortran, Python, and Matlab should serve you well. Maybe java.
  6. May 7, 2013 #5
    Python, Matlab and LabView

    Also Linux/unix
  7. May 7, 2013 #6


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    Gold Member

    I second the suggestions of C++ and Matlab. I also suggest being very familiar with Mathematica.
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