Physics through Computational Thinking

By Prof. Auditya Sharma   |   IISER Bhopal
Learners enrolled: 179
This course gives a hands-on introduction to computational thinking applied to basic undergraduate physics. A strong emphasis is placed on translating physics problems into a form suitable for analysis on a computer, with visual aids and computer programming tools. The focus here is primarily to develop the cognitive skill of computational thinking in Physics rather than elaborate numerical methods or exhaustive study of Physics. Our approach to problem solving is as follows:
a) Formulate a basic problem that is amenable to full analytical solution.
b) Translate the problem into a form that can be analyzed on a computer, first by visual tools followed by more sophisticated computational tools.
c) Design complementary computational approaches whose results can be subjected to test against the analytical solutions, thus building confidence and making transparent both the methods.
d) Exploit the confidence thus developed to tackle problems that are not amenable to a full analytical solution.

PREREQUISITES : Newtonian Mechanics, Modern Physics, Electrostatics.
INDUSTRY SUPPORT : Quantitative Finance and Scientific consulting companies
Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Core
Duration : 8 weeks
Start Date : 20 Feb 2023
End Date : 14 Apr 2023
Exam Date : 29 Apr 2023 IST
Enrollment Ends : 20 Feb 2023
Category :
  • Physics
Credit Points : 2
Level : Undergraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1 : Intro to Computational Thinking, Visual Thinking and Mathematica
Week 2 : Dimensional Analysis, non-dimensionalization, scales of a physical problem
Week 3 : Data Analysis: Estimation of errors, and curve fitting 
Week 4 : Periodic motion 1: simple, damped, and anharmonic oscillators 
Week 5 : Dynamics through numerical methods: Euler, RK methods. 
Week 6 : Periodic motion 2: forced oscillations, resonance, friction. 
Week 7 : Intro. to Monte Carlo simulation
Week 8 : Intro. to random walks

Books and references

We aim to make the lectures self-contained. Standard undergraduate texts for Mechanics (Kleppner and Kolenkow), Electrostatics (Griffiths), Modern Physics (Beiser) could be useful aids. 

Instructor bio

Prof. Auditya Sharma

IISER Bhopal
Auditya Sharma: Got a B.Tech in Engineering Physics from IIT Madras in 2006, followed by a PhD in Physics with specialization in Statistical Physics from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2011. He followed this with two postdoctoral stints: one at the International Institute of Physics, Natal, Brazil from 2011-2013, and another at Tel Aviv University, Israel from 2014-2015. He has been on the faculty in the Department of Physics at IISER Bhopal since 2015.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 
29 April 2023 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 6 assignments out of the total 8 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IISER Bhopal. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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