Python is a computer programming language that is rapidly gaining popularity throughout the sciences. A Student's Guide to Python for Physical Modeling aims to help you, the student, teach yourself enough of the Python programming language to get started with physical modeling. You will learn how to install an open-source Python programming environment and use it to accomplish many common scientific computing tasks: importing, exporting, and visualizing data; numerical analysis; and simulation. No prior programming experience is assumed.
This tutorial focuses on fundamentals and introduces a wide range of useful techniques, including:
- Basic Python programming and scripting
- Numerical arrays
- Two- and three-dimensional graphics
- Monte Carlo simulations
- Numerical methods, including solving ordinary differential equations
- Image processing
Numerous code samples and exercises—with solutions—illustrate new ideas as they are introduced. Web-based resources also accompany this guide and include code samples, data sets, and more.
Jesse M. Kinder is assistant professor of physics at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Philip Nelson is professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Biological Physics and Physical Models of Living Systems.
"The text serves as an excellent stepping stone into the world of using Python in computational science for undergraduate students with a strong background in mathematics."--Kevin Thielen and Vivienne Tien, Computing in Science & Engineering
"At a brief 160 pages, it is quite possible for a motivated student to complete it in just a few sittings. . . . [A] fine introduction."--American Journal of Physics
"Kinder and Nelson's engaging introduction to scientific programming in Python is careful and thorough, and focuses on actual essentials. Bread-and-butter concepts and techniques, belonging in every computational scientist's toolbox, are presented with well-thought-out examples drawn from daily research practice. This is a clever text, inviting students to take that most important step: to dive right in and start coding."--Cornelis Storm, Eindhoven University of Technology
"Kinder and Nelson have written a friendly and succinct, yet surprisingly comprehensive, introduction to scientific programming in Python. It's written not just for computational scientists, but for anyone who needs to plot and analyze experimental data, numerically solve equations, or learn the basics of programming. Even students who have experience in programming will appreciate the thought-provoking exercises and guidelines for getting the most out of Python." --Vinothan N. Manoharan, Harvard University
"This book is tailor-made for physical scientists beginning to do computation. More than in any other programming book I've read, the authors are conscientious--they anticipate and troubleshoot the areas of confusion readers might encounter. Kinder and Nelson carefully and effectively guide readers toward the goal of formulating a computational problem and solving it."--Justin Bois, California Institute of Technology
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Philip Nelson: