Close Menu

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 »

Why Choose Physics?

What Can I Study?

First Year Experience


New Measurements from Illinois Tech Researchers Suggest “Antineutrino Anomaly” Fueled by Modeling Error
Results from a new scientific study that included Illinois Institute of Technology College of Science Assistant Professor of... read more
College of Science Extends Deadline for Undergraduate Summer Research Stipend Nominations to April 7
The College of Science has extended the deadline for nominations for the Undergraduate Summer Research Stipend program to Friday... read more
Illinois Tech Scientists Receive NSF Phase 1 SBIR Grant for Nanoelectrofuel Battery
A company founded by Illinois Tech scientists has received $225,000 to build an innovative nanoelectrofuel (NEF) flow battery... read more
Physics Undergraduate Adam Denchfield Wins Research Internship at Argonne Lab
Adam Denchfield, third year physics major, has received a prestigious internship for summer 2017 with the Mathematics and... read more
Illinois Tech's Health Physics Program Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
by Reno WaswilDISTRIBUTION MANAGER, TechNews The use of radiation by research, government, and industrial agencies, while... read more


No events featured at this time...