Numerical Methods in Physics

Course content

The course is a hands-on introduction to the numerical and computational techniques used in modern physics. While most bachelor level physics courses present examples where there exist elegant analytical solutions, many real world problems are solved with the help of computers and numerical techniques.

Although we will touch upon theoretical foundations for some of the numerical methods, this course is not meant to replace a formal and rigorous course on numerical methods. Neither it is intended to teach a  modern practices in efficient programming. Instead it aims at giving a student an overview of the most used numerical tools and the intuition about the power of quantitative computer models.


BSc Programme in Physics

Learning outcome

After the course the students will be able to program numerical methods for solving Ordinary and Partial differential equations, perform stability analyses of the numerical methods,  program agent based models, cellular automaton and basic algorithms for network analyses.

Learn how a number of numerical tools can be applied to solving a number of interesting , real-world physics problems including Schrodinger equation, Planetary motion, Diffusion equations, Forest fire models, Percolation on networks, Chaotic systems, etc.

The student will gain some overview of  numerical tools frequently used in modern physics. In addition students will be aware of the potential caveats and will be able to better direct themselves in the extensive literature on numerical and computational techniques.

Lectures, exercises and project in groups.

Course notes in form of power point slides.

Additional reading material will be posted on Absalon.

Basic programming (Python or any other programming environment,) and mathematical skills (linear algebra and ordinary differential equations).

It is expected that the student brings laptop with Python or other programming environment installed.
Observe that the course takes place over the 4 weeks and will thus require intensive participation.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
During the course students will have to hand in 3 written reports and do a group project followed up by presentation in class. The reports and the project must be approved to pass the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
one internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

see 'skills'

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 15
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Exercises
  • 95
  • Project work
  • 56
  • English
  • 206