Physics – Computer simulations

Author: prof. dr hab. inż. Zbigniew Kąkol
Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science AGH University of Science and Technology

Licencja CC BY-SA 4.0

Data ostatniej modyfikacji: 20 January 2010


Physics is a natural science that studies the most basic and general properties of the material world around us and the phenomena occurring in this world. The aim of physics is to learn the laws of nature on which all physical phenomena depend. The basic research method of physics is observation and experience. In general, the cognitive process starts with qualitative observations: we register, discover a new phenomenon. Then we conduct experiments in order to establish causal relationships and obtain quantitative information. On this basis, we try to formulate laws of physics, which we record in the form of mathematical equations. This transition from observation to a mathematical model is known as the induction method. In this method, learning begins with getting to know the example or performing an independent exercise to draw attention to both the phenomenon itself and the factors important for this phenomenon. It is here that computer simulations of physical phenomena can be of great help.

Each computer simulation, which illustrates selected issues from physics, is accompanied by a short description of the program’s operation. I use these programs as part of general physics courses conducted by me at various departments of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. Although I have written them for students, they can be successfully used (to various extent) as materials supporting physics lessons in secondary schools. You can learn more about physical phenomena themselves from the physics lectures available at, both in the form of an online course “e-Physics“, enriched with simple animations, as well as the “Physics” manual prepared in PDF format.