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I am interested in doing basic mechanical simulations, such as experimenting with the brachistochrone problem (path of quickest descent) and the motion of point particles under the influence of gravity etc.

I have a minimal knowledge of programming languages such as Python, but have no idea how I can use this or anything else to do this.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated. :)

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a very broad question and unlikely to be answered well here beyond “Grab a Comp Physics text and have at it” $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 22 '19 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ physics.stackexchange.com/q/161368 $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Nov 22 '19 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ Without knowledge of the relevant algorithms, programming is useless. Any introductory computational physics textbook will explain the basic algorithms for your needs. $\endgroup$ – GiorgioP Nov 24 '19 at 9:37
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I have done many simulations on Excel spreadsheets. All the basic functions are available, variables are easily incremented, formulas can be propagated down or across the page (drag dot on lower right), and the results can be graphed. With the thoughtful use of iteration they can even be animated. If you can't afford Excel, the spreadsheet that comes with the free Open Office is almost as good.

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  • $\begingroup$ i use the free Mac program Numbers. It works well too. $\endgroup$ – jmh Nov 22 '19 at 20:59
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There is a free computational physics book that also has free source code for the many simulations done. The codes are written in Fortran and C++. I can't read C++ but Fortran is easy. There is also a f2py converter for Fortran to python conversion. Most of the simple simulations can be converted without anything. There are also other f2XX conversion codes available as well as C++ or C to python.

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