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AS3013   Computational Astrophysics

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: 2.00 pm - 5.30 pm Mon and Thu (TBC)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to computational methods in astrophysics. Based on a general introduction to the programming language Fortran-90, students are shown how to apply simple numerical algorithms to calculate integrals, iteratively find the roots of non-linear equations, solve systems of ordinary differential equations, and to develop tools for statistical data analysis. Further emphasis is put on the development of skills to make convincing plots from the calculated data. The practical exercises include applications to the initial mass function in star formation, the calculation of orbits for N-body gravitational problems and in mean galactic potentials, and planet transition light-curves. Students gain experience with the basics of numerical accuracy, and the development of problem-solving algorithms in general.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass PH2011 and pass PH2012 and pass MT2501 and pass MT2503

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 2 x 3.5-hour supervised or taught sessions (x 10 weeks). Mostly hands-on guided work on computers, but with occasional presentation.

Scheduled learning hours: 70

Guided independent study hours: 80

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework (practical work, the submission of computer code and computational solutions to given problems) = 100%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 0%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: No Re-assessment available - laboratory based


Module teaching staff: TBC

Additional information from school

Please see also the information in the School's Handbook for Honours modules available via This link also gives access to timetables for the modules.