Computation in undergraduate physics: The Lawrence approach
American Journal of Physics
Most efforts using computers in physics curricula focus on introductory courses or individual upper-level courses. In contrast, for a dozen years the Lawrence Department of Physics has been striving to embed the use of general purpose graphical, symbolic, and numeric computational tools throughout our curriculum. Developed with support from the (US) National Science Foundation, the Keck Foundation, and Lawrence University, our approach involves introducing freshman to tools for data acquisition
... or data acquisition and analysis, offering sophomores a course that introduces them to symbolic, numerical, and visualization tools, incorporating computational approaches alongside traditional approaches to problems in many intermediate and upper level courses, and making computational resources available so that students come to see them as tools to be used routinely on their own initiative whenever their use seems appropriate. A text reflecting the developments at Lawrence is in preparation, will undergo beta testing in 2001-02, and will be published in January, 2003. Details about the Lawrence curricular approach and the emerging text can be found from links at www.lawrence.edu/dept/physics. 1 Lawrence University is a liberal arts college and conservatory of music with about 1250 students. The Department of Physics has five full time members and graduates an average of a dozen majors each year.