Developments in Teaching Physics Students’ Computer Programming Skills

An IOP Higher Education Group meeting Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield Tuesday 2 June 2015 11:00-16:00

Computer programming is a valuable skill for undergraduates to learn, preparing them for both a PhD and a range of careers. However it is a subject that many students find difficult. With the number of programming languages increasing yearly there is continuous debate as to the best language to teach and how this should be integrated into the curriculum. In addition the recent availability of very cheap computing with versatile interfacing capabilities (e.g. Raspberry Pi, Arduino) and the industrial standard language LabVIEW allows equipment control and data acquisition to be taught.



11:00David Mowbray – Welcome and house keeping

An experiment in embedding and distributing programming throughout an undergraduate degree

Anna Wilson


Implementation of computational physics in a new Applied Physics degree

Chris Dewdney


Teaching physics with Python

Louise Dash

12:45Lunch LT04

Visual programming: LabVIEW & donkeys in the laboratory

Rachel Edwards


Programming with Arduinos

Paul Cruickshank


Creating usefulness when teaching programming

Rob Miles


SEPnet Summer Placement Survey – what software do students use on placements and how well do physics courses prepare them for using industry software?

David Sands

16:00Finish and tea and coffee LT04


Abstracts and Participants

Please see the following websites that were discussed during the meeting:

Rob Miles' blog

Rob Miles' snaps 

Rob Miles' Arduino 

Open Data Science newsfeed 

C# course 

Wrestling with Python 

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