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Seminars that go over my head and computational power

Well, I sat through a seminar during which a post-doc was talking about how many body systems can be understood using numerical simulations of their behavior, using density matrix formalism or the wavefunction formalism. He then went on to talk about how they studied various theoretical and (very) real systems and showed how their properties arise from ab-initio calculations. Although much of the talk went over my head, the one thing that was running through my mind was how I was taught the Hartree-Fock method in my second year, as part of a course on physical chemistry, and how it's seemingly invincible power went right over my head.

This is pretty much what I've been doing most of the summer. I am doing a course on numerical methods in programming and apart from the examples the prof mentions in classes and in our programming lab session, I've been trying to come up with or formulate computational problems related to physic topics that I've been learning over the last five years. Ranging from understanding the damped harmonic oscillator to how the trajectory of a particle in an electric or magnetic field would be, from the diffraction limit of light to solving the schrodinger equation, I can see many many examples that could've been incorporated into the classroom to get students more comfortable with programming as such.

The ability to write code is becoming an integral tool to being a scientist and all of those who aspire to be one should learn programming seriously. Now I don't know if this is the best way to learn programming, through example, but I think this would've gotten me hooked. I think. There's no saying what I would've liked 3 years earlier.

Anyway, I've been trying to make small visualizations, some examples of physics concepts taught in any undergrad physics curriculum. Let's see where this goes...

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