Summer SAVY 2017, Session 3/Day 1- Computational Astrophysics (Rising 6th/7th)
On our first day of Computational Astrophysics, we got into coding right away! We started by talking about why astronomers have to write computer code. The students told me about their experience with computer programming. I was truly impressed and surprised how many of these students had coding experience! I didn’t really start writing code until college, so it’s awesome to see that all of them are way ahead of where I was at that age. We discussed and practiced how we can mathematically describe where objects are in the Universe. Then the students began coding using VPython. They made spheres, boxes, pyramids, arrows, and some really unique structures that I’m not even sure how to describe – they’ll just need to show you! We practiced how to tell computers to move these objects in multiple directions, and some of the students started putting together their Solar Systems! We’ll soon be discussing the physics behind why and how these objects move, but everyone is off to a great start. Writing computer programming isn’t always easy, but I can tell that these students will all be great at it!