Numerical Methods for Physics

Summer Semester 2020 (scanned lecture notes; exercises)

Thur., 12:00-14:00, Room 02.116;
Frid.,   12:00-13:00, Room 02.116;
Changes to this schedule are reported in the Hochschulportal
Exercises: Wed, 09:00-10:00, Room 02.116; Frid., 13:00-14:00, Room 02.116. The tutors for the course are Alessandro Sciarra and Quang Pham. Instructions on the exercises can be found here

NEW schedule imposed by the COVID-19:
1. Asynchronous lectures will be recorded and made available every Thursday on this link for download together with hand-written lecture notes the exercise assigned.
2. Synchronous (“live”) lectures will be held every week on Frid.,  12:00-13:00 via zoom to discuss the topics presented and for an answer/question session.  
3. A “registration” is needed to receive the zoom password. Please send an email to Frau Steidl ( to request it.
4. A synchronous zoom discussion time will be organised for the exercises on Wed.,  09:00-10:00 and on Frid.,  13:00-14:00. The first tutorial will be on 29.04.20.
5. The first meeting to introduce the course will be held on Thur. 23.04.20 from 12:00 to 13:00. Registered participants will receive the zoom password from Frau Steidl.

Information on the course

The course is developed aims at providing the student with many of the “tools” frequently used in the solution of physical problems. The course is meant to be an applied course, in which the actual programming is a key feature. For this reason, each lecture will have one or more exercises involving the solution of a specific physical problem via the use of numerical codes implementing the techniques discussed in the lecture. The codes can be written in any of the following languages: fortran (77, 90, 95), C, C++, python. However no specific computational knowledge is necessary. Each exercise must be completed (ideally) before the subsequent lecture in the course starts. Topics covered include:

  • Root Finding
  • Linear Algebra
  • Interpolation and Extrapolation of functions
  • Integration of Functions
  • Random Numbers and Montercarlo Techniques
  • Solution of Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Solution of Partial Differential Equations:
    • Hyperbolic Equations
    • Parabolic Equations
    • Elliptic Equations
  • Fourier Transforms


  • Computational Physics, D. Potter, Wiley, NY
  • Numerical Methods for Conservation Laws}. R. J. LeVeque, Birkhauser, 1992.
  • Numerical Recipes, W. H. Press et al., Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992
  • Relativistic Hydrodynamics, L. Rezzolla and O. Zanotti, Oxford Univ. Press, 2013