Can anyone recommend some good textbooks for undergraduate level computational physics course? I am using numerical recipe but find it not a very good textbook.
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I like Bill Gibbs' book Computation In Modern Physics for a couple of reasons (aside from having taken the course from the author):
- After introducing basic tools (difference approximations to differential equations, numeric quadratures (i.e. integrals), and eigenvalue problems in a matrix form) it moves right on to problems of interest to me. The examples are all taken from nuclear and particle physics, so there neutron transport models and toy tomography problems and multi-electron atoms to solve and so on. Good stuff.
- It is at once a small book, and provides deep coverage of the problems that it spends time on.
- The sections on Monte Carlo methods are very good.
That said, it suffers from two issues that prospective users might want to know about:
Bill is a Fortran 77 guy.
All the code in the book is in that language, and he uses some deep magic array slicing tricks that (1) will take considerable study for students to comprehend and (2) may set a bad example in the modern era where programming clarity is to be preferred over "optimization" until you've proven that the compiler can't optimize it enough.
The level might be a little steep.
The course was taught to seniors and grad-students, but I would guess that it was conceived of as a graduate course. So the move from basic principles to problems is pretty demanding and the problems assume that the students know a fair amount of modern physics.
I am using this.(freely available) http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/329/329.html
A complete set of lecture notes for an upper-division undergraduate computational physics course. Topics covered include scientific programming in C, the numerical solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, particle-in-cell codes, and Montecarlo methods.
I am using a computation book with very specific procedures of derivation and I find it very helpful with my daily study,but it focuses on the quantum computation methods, the writers are Nielsen & Chuang. this is the free access to this book: