Current Seminars
​​Thursday, March 19​, 2015
​3:30 p.m. reception in Dow Science Complex 208
​4:00 p.m. seminar in Dow Science Complex 107
  • Integrating a Computational Perspective in the Basic Science Education
  • Morton Hjorth-Jensen, MSU/NSCL
​In the last decades we have witnessed an incredible development of both computer hardware and software. Scientific problems that were previously solved on large special-purpose machines with special-purpose software can now be easily handled in general-purpose, interactive environments on standard PCs with the bonus of immediate visualization of the results. Surprisingly, the use of computers to solve mathematical problems still has little impact on university education around the world, particularly at the undergraduate level. Given today's dominance of numerical simulations in research and industry, we think it is paramount to integrate numerical tools at all levels in the educational system. A fundamental challenge to our undergraduate programs is how to incorporate and exploit efficiently these advances within the standard curriculum in mathematics and the natural sciences, without detracting the attention from many of the classical topics. This brings with it the major organizational challenge of how to get university teachers in a variety of different fields and departments to work together towards such a reform. Furthermore, if students are trained to use such tools from the earliest stages in their education, do such tools really enhance and improve the learning environment? In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, does it lead to better understanding and insight?

Although we don't have answers to all these topics, I will, in this talk, present two possible approaches:
1) One approach involves the establishment of undergraduate programs in computational science, with links to various disciplines and possible programs in computational physics. Such a path is discussed at the CNS of Michigan State University.
2) Another possibility is to include computational topics in a coordinated way in various undergraduate programs in natural science. I have been deeply involved in such an initiative at the University of Oslo (where I spend the fall semester) for almost 15 years. This initiative is called Computing in Science Education (see http://www.mn.uio.no/english/about/collaboration/cse/) and has resulted in a significant change in the way science is taught. Computations are introduced from the very first semester of study and linked up with the mathematics courses in the first and subsequent semesters. Furthermore, computational problems are integrated in basically all compulsory undergraduate physics courses, allowing university teachers to strengthen research-based teaching at a very early level of study. A particular achievement of the Computing in Science Education project in Oslo is that we have managed to implement the computer-based methods by modifying existing science courses. I will present several examples from this project, with examples from courses across undergraduate programs in the more mathematically oriented programs as well as a recent project on integrating computations in undergraduate programs in life science.​
​​​Thursday, April 9, 2015
​3:30 p.m. reception in Dow Science Complex 208
​4:00 p.m. seminar in Dow Science Complex 107
  • Experimental nuclear physics and science politics
  • Sigma-Pi-Sigma: Ani Apraha​mian, University of Notre Dame
​​Thursday, April 16, 2015
​3:30 p.m. reception in Dow Science Complex 208
​4:00 p.m. seminar in Dow Science Complex 107
  • Quantum Montecarlo, condensed matter physics
  • Shiwei Zhang, College of William and Mary
​​Tuesday, April 28, 2015
​3:30 p.m. reception in Dow Science Complex 208
​4:00 p.m. seminar in Dow Science Complex 208
  • Senior Project seminars
  • Physics undergraduate students
​​Thursday, April 30, 2015
​3:30 p.m. reception in Dow Science Complex 107
​4:00 p.m. seminar in Dow Science Complex 107
  • Senior Project seminars
  • Physics undergraduate students


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