Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Programming language or software for scientific/didactic animations

  1. Jul 5, 2014 #1
    Hello everybody!

    I'm looking for some good software or programming language suitable for creating some sort of animations aimed to didactic exposure of scientific topics.

    What I want to do is an application that allows to interactively follow the evolution of a star's internal structure. The idea is to have cross-sections of the star with colour-coded diagrams that describe time-varying quantities as temperature, density, etc...

    Some of the languages/softwares I was thinking of as suitable for this are VisualBasic, flash, xml... maybe some Abobe software... But I have no real experience in this, so I was looking for some help.

    I'd like to use something that offers both visual appeal and some scientific "rigour"... As an example: I want to realize a schematic view of the internal structure of the star as concentric annuli, which color changes as a specific function of time during the animation... Also I'd like to make this a little interactive for the user, with the possibility to choose the type of diagram or quantities, and arrange multiple diagrams on a page.

    If possible, I'd like to make this application compatible with web visualization.

    Now, I realize these are a lot of requirements. Any suggestion will be appreciated.
    If you could also suggest useful books or documentation, that would be great.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Check out the Open SOurce Physics website at www.compadre.org/osp

    Its a java-based framework for doing physics simulations by actually integrating the equations that describe a given system.

    You can step thru it or just run it and you'll get dynamic graphs or visuals of whats going on during the run.

    Of course, you have to write the java code but they give you many examples and the framework to do it in with several ODE solvers to choose from.

    Typically you'll use either Eclipse IDE or Netbeans IDE to develop your code.

    Another one to look at is Processing IDE at:


    Also java basaed but definitely easier to use but you'll have to do more work for the kinds of simulations you want to do.

    Of course, you might able to mix the two together like borrow the ODE solves from OSP and use them in your Processing sketch (aka your program).
  4. Jul 6, 2014 #3
    I'm giving a look to Processing and it really looks like what I needed!
    By the way, I don't think I will need to perform complicated mathematical computations like differential equations, 'cause I'm gonna supply precomputed solutions, but the very possibility to use those kind of features is pretty interesting.
    Thanks again for your quick and useful response!
  5. Jul 6, 2014 #4
  6. Jul 6, 2014 #5
    Thanks, by 3D graphics isn't what I need, it would be too complex for my purpose...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook