Changing Physics education with Julia
2021-07-28, 19:00–19:30 (UTC), Blue

In many disciplines of physics, code is not explicitly discussed as part of the learning subject. Here I will focus on nonlinear dynamics, a discipline that suffers greatly from the disconnect between the mathematics and the coding. I will present our new approach in teaching this subject, based on JuliaDynamics and a new Springer textbook for nonlinear dynamics whose pages are interlaced with Julia code. I wish to demonstrate how Julia can fundamentally change the way physics is being taught.


In many disciplines of physics, code is not explicitly discussed as part of the learning subject. Here I will focus on nonlinear dynamics, a discipline that suffers greatly from the disconnect between the mathematics and the coding. In fact, this disconnect is largely what started the JuliaDynamics software organization, as a means to eliminate this disconnect.

In this talk I will present the numerous ways that we have employed in order to fundamentally change physics education for the better. And this change necessarily requires including coding as part of the learning subject. I will demonstrate how we created easy to read code using Julia, how to incorporate it into exercises, how to make interactive applications that enhance learning, and how to include scientific analysis using code as part of the learning subject. Our new approach to teaching nonlinear dynamics, which I will present here, is also published as a new textbook on the topic by Springer. The book explicitly includes real, runnable Julia code. A GitHub repository related with the book can be found here: https://github.com/JuliaDynamics/NonlinearDynamicsTextbook

I believe that this new approach should be used by more and more branches of physics. When this is done, then finally coding will be viewed as an integral part of science, instead of some "background business behind the curtains", which is its current perception. Ultimately, this will lead not only to better science, but to actually reproducible science.

Postdoc in climate physics in the MPI for Meteorology (Hamburg) and professional drummer. Lead dev for JuliaDynamics and JuliaMusic.