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Computational Science and Physics at Illinois Tech

By Grant Bunker, Chair and Professor, Physics

Physicists have long used computers in research. The modern stored program computer architecture was conceived and implemented by mathematician and physicist John von Neumann in 1945, inspired by Alan Turing’s theoretical ideas. In physics, computers are used to test theoretical models against observations, to analyze experimental data, and to serve as virtual experiments in themselves.

Initially “computers” were human individuals. Later, computations were done by carefully choreographed groups of humans operating mechanical calculators; later yet, by electronic computers that were based on vacuum tubes, then transistors, then CPUs; and nowadays by carefully choreographed clusters of CPUs and GPUs.

Another very different computational approach that was used by physicists employed analog computers, which (among other things) solved differential equations by devising electronic (or fluidic) circuits whose behavior was a mathematical analogue of the behavior of the physical system of interest.

Computation is an essential, pervasive, educational, and fun aspect of doing physics at Illinois Tech. More »

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First Year Experience


Physics’s Zasadzinski Co-Authors/Edits New Book on Josephson Junction Devices
John Zasadzinski, physics professor and Paul and Suzi Schutt Endowed Chair in Science, is co-author and co-editor of a new book,... read more
APS Highlight Explores Catalysis Research by Illinois Tech Scientists
A recent APS Highlight by Argonne National Laboratory explores innovative catalysis research by Adam Hock, associate... read more
The Mysterious Dark Universe: Kolb of University of Chicago Is 2016 Leon Lederman Lecturer
Edward W. “Rocky” Kolb of the University of Chicago will give the 2016 Leon Lederman Lecture in Physics on Monday, October... read more
Physics’ Limestall Wins Civic Tech Challenge, Part of ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza 2016
Co-terminal physics/health physics student William Limestall (BS PHYS/MHP 4th year) and his team won the Civic Tech Challenge... read more
Physics Ph.D. Candidate Rachel Seibert Wins Second Place in ORNL Research Competition for Study of SiC Layers in TRISO Fuels
Rachel Seibert, a Ph.D. candidate in condensed matter physics, won second place in a research poster competition at Oak... read more


Gayle Woloschak - Professor of Radiation Oncology and Radiology, Northwestern
Jan 19, 2017 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Physics - Colloquia - 111 Robert A. Pritzker Science Center
Jan 19