2023-2024 / PHYS0209-3

Numerical methods in physics


25h Th, 35h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in physics6 crédits 


Thierry Bastin

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The theoretical course is divided into 6 chapters Chap. 0: Integer and real number representations Chap. I : Numerical integration (trapez, Simpson and Monte-Carlo methods) Chap. II : Roots, minima and maxima of a function Chap. III : linear systems (Gauss-Jordan algorithm and LU decomposition) Chap. IV : The spline curves. Chap. V : Differential equations (Euler and Runge-Kutta methods) Chap. VI : Eigenvalue equations (Jacobi and Givens transforms) Chap. VI : Orthogonal polynomials

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

- To learn using the computers to solve various problems encountered in physics.
- To teach the related algorithms     
- To implement these algorithms in C++
- To learn Mathematica®

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The teaching method is the ex cathedra mode. The essential of the course is presented with use of video data slides, completed with the use of the blackboard for the technical developments. The theoretical lessons are completed with practical lessons where all the teached algorithms are implemented in computers. A room equipped with 40 computers is affected for this purpose. The attendance at the practical lessons is MANDATORY to have access to the final examination session.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

The theoretical and practical classes are given in the first quadrimestre. Practical classes are held in in room 4/25 of the Physics building B5.

Recommended or required readings

Copy of all slides displayed during the theoretical lessons are available online, along with a reference manual of Mathematica®, the C/C++ language and the compiler used in the practical lessons. These references manuals are completed with many code examples to illustrate the basic notions of the C/C++ language.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions )

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

Evaluation is weighed as follows

- 55 % for written examination

- 35 % for practical examination (a code to write)

- 10 % for one of the codes developed during the semester (the graded code is chosen randomly)

as long as a mark greater or equal to 8 be obtained in each of the two first parts, failing which, the final mark is given by the lowest one of these two parts.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The teaching team can answer questions of the students at any office time (by appointment) and outside of the examination periods.


Thierry Bastin

Département de Physique

I.P.N.A.S., Bât. B15, Sart Tilman


Tél: 04/366.36.93

e-mail: T.Bastin@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs