Hitting The Ground Running: Computational Physics Education That Prepares Students For Research

Document Type


Publication Date


Published In

Bulletin Of The American Physical Society


Integrating computation into the standard physics curriculum is becoming increasingly common for reasons of enhancing physics education. This begs the question of which elements of this type of teaching also feed into creating students ready to enter a computational physics research group, and come up to speed as contributing members. In this talk, we will review strategies currently being employed to train undergraduates to this task. We suggest that there is a need for the computational physics research community to collect and rank priorities for student skills. The issue of which computational tools and skills are needed (There are many!) will be reframed as a question of which tools our incoming research students should (i) already know (ii) know exist in principle (iii) not know, but would be taught in the research lab setting. In other words: which skills and ideas are both natural and feasible to include in the classroom environment, and which are more suited to on-the-job training? We suggest resources within the domain of computational physics as well as in computer science, software engineering, and data science, for optimizing students’ preparedness and productivity.


APS March Meeting 2019

Conference Dates

March 4-8, 2019

Conference Location

Boston, MA

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