2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Laboratory Physics and Python at the University of Toronto
Abstract: The undergraduate teaching of experimental and computational physics is undergoing significant change at the University of Toronto, with the Advanced Physics Lab as the only remaining (almost) traditional lab course.  Except in first year, lecture and laboratory courses have been traditionally separate, and computation was only formally available as optional courses in 3rd and 4th year.  The Physics Department has chosen Python as the computational tool that will be supported in all our undergraduate courses in all years.  Because of program constraints limiting our ability to require additional courses, and the challenge in agreeing to make drastic changes in traditional lecture courses, the primary introduction of Python has been through modification and expansion of existing lab courses into "practical physics" courses.  These current and ongoing changes will be described, with particular emphasis on the implications for our Advanced Physics Lab.


(1) "Putting computation on a par with experiments and theory in the undergraduate physics curriculum", Ruxandra M. Serbanescu, Paul J. Kushner, and Sabine Stanley, Am. J. Phys. 79 (2011) 919-924 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3593296).
(2) Computers in Physics at the University of Toronto, http://compwiki.physics.utoronto.ca/.
(3) "The Advanced Physics Lab at the University of Toronto", David C. Bailey, Jason  Harlow, Natalia Krasnopolskaia, 2009 Conference on Advanced Physics Labs (http://www.compadre.org/advlabs/tcal/Detail.cfm?id=2579).
(4) "Python for the Advanced Physics Lab", http://www.physics.utoronto.ca/~phy326/python/.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: David Bailey
University of Toronto
60 St. George Street
Toronto, ON, Canada, Non U.S. M5S1A7
Phone: 416-978-4993
Fax: 416-978-8221