NFYB14002U Numerical Methods in Physics

Volume 2020/2021

BSc Programme in Physics


The course is a hands-on introduction to the numerical and computational techniques used in modern physics. While most bachelor level physics courses present examples where there exist elegant analytical solutions, most real-world problems are solved with the help of computers and numerical techniques.

Focus will be on the application of numerical methods to example problems, but will also touch upon the theoretical foundations of many of these methods.

Learning Outcome


After the course the students will be able to program numerical methods for solving numerous problems that arise in physics. These include:

  • Initial-value and boundary-value problems for Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Partial Differential Equations
  • Stochastic Simulations


The student will be able to recognise the different approaches that can be used to tackle a problem numerically and will understand the differences between using explicit vs. implicit time-stepping, using regular or irregular-spaced grids, as well as grid-free approaches such as spectral methods.

The student will gain some overview of numerical tools frequently used in modern physics. In addition, the student will be aware of potential caveats and will be able to better direct themselves in the extensive literature on numerical and computational techniques.

Lecture notes will be available for the course. Further reading material will be posted on Absalon.

Basic programming (Python or any other programming language) and mathematical skills (linear algebra and differential equations).
Lectures, exercises and project in groups.
It is expected that the student brings laptop with Python or similar programming environment installed. Examples will be given in Python. Observe that the course takes place over the 4 weeks and will thus require intensive participation.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 15
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Exercises
  • 95
  • Project work
  • 56
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
During the course students will have to hand in 3 written reports and do a group project followed up by presentation in class. The reports and the project must be approved to pass the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
one internal examiner

A new project (other than the one performed during the course) should be completed and presented individually. All the reports required in the course should be completed and passed.

Criteria for exam assesment

see 'skills'