Geo-stationary orbit
Computer Applications - PH 316
Winter  2006

Foucault's pendulum

Special methods of programming computers to obtain numerical solutions to a wide range of problems. Includes simulation, graphing techniques, visualization and Web page creation.  Prerequisites: PH 203 and some experience in programming.

Instructor:  Dean Sieglaff,

Mathcad is used as the primary software in this course.   Mathcad performs mathematics using equations that are written out as they are on paper.  The results are calculated instantly.  It can take derivatives, find integrals, take roots, solve systems of equations and solve ordinary differential equations.  Numeric and symbolic calculations can be combined and results may be tabulated or graphed.  It also provides for 3D color graphs and contour plots.

VPython is also used in this course. This is a free 3D programming language developed at Carnegie Mellon University.

There are three other free programs that are used in this course.
     puTTY - a program that enables a secure shell (SSH) logon to the server
     WinSCP - a program for transferring files to and from the server
     Nvu - an HTML editor for creating Web pages on all platforms (Windows, Macintosh and Linux)

Class photographs  |  SPS  |  Department of Physics and Astronomy  |  Augustana College  |  Science at Augustana

Last update: January 12, 2007

Project 04

Floating Object Dynamics

Click here to download the Mathcad file that demonstrates how to compute the CG position of the body, and how to produce the force vector "wire frame" that can be used to add it to the graphical display.  To download, see below:
Useful Documents: Getting Started is a Mathcad document that describes how to assign and evaluate quantities including physical units, how to express equations and solve them symbolically, and how to graph math functions.

To download, DON'T JUST CLICK!  Rather, right click, save target as..., select the "save as type" to be All Files, edit the File name to be a *.xmcd file (a Mathcad 13 doc, not *.xml), navigate to your desktop, and hit OK.

Project 05

Visualizing the Floating Block Using VPython

Click here to download a zip archive of the Python and VPython installation applications (for Windows).  Included is an instruction page.  Extract the archive to the desktop and view the "View_Me" page for further instructions.  Visit the VPython download page for more info/other platforms.

Here is the file

Project 06

Electrostatic Potential Calculations (Ion Gun)

Click here to obtain an Excel sheet nicely set-up and formatted for Project 06.
Project 07

Ion Trajectories (Ion Gun)

Click here to download the Project 07 Getting Started Mathcad Document.  Please adhere to the instructions above regarding the downloading of Mathcad sheets.
Exam #2 Here is an example video for problem 3.  Also, you may find the following helpful:

A function to calculate the heading angle of a vector r (where r is a two-element array whose 0th element is its x component and whose 1st element is its y component)  is shown below.  This function treats the built-in ambiguity of the arctangent function.  Arctangent evaluates correctly only for vectors pointing into the +x half of the Cartesian plane.  Also, the "pipe" key (SHIFT + \) is the vector magnitude operator.