Summer SAVY 2017, Session 3/Day 4- Computational Astrophysics (Rising 6th/7th)
We’ve finally reached our goal in Computational Astrophysics – everyone now has a working model of the Solar System! During the first part of the day, the students added in all of the planets and made them orbit our sun. They quickly pointed out that the way we were writing our code was inefficient. The students continued to help each other, coming up with better and smarter ways to write their code. We explored how we could write more efficient code using “lists” and “for loops”. We did a class activity, acting out how a computer uses these methods, and then we applied our understanding to our Solar System, making even cleaner code. Last, we talked about other ways in which the code we wrote is only approximately correct, like how we ignored forces between planets. Tomorrow, we’ll try to fix these minor but important inaccuracies!