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Plotting with VPython and PyLab

I am not a programmer. Just to be clear. I use python to get things done, but I am sure it could be done in more efficient ways. Anyway, I sure you know how much I like vpython – especially for teaching physics. However, sometimes I use it for blogging stuff also. The problem is…

Throwing a football, Part II

In part I of this post, I talked about the basics of projectile motion with no air resistance. Also in that post, I showed that (without air resistance) the angle to throw a ball for maximum range is 45 degrees. When throwing a football, there is some air resistance this means that 45 degree is…

VPython 5.0 is mostly out (in release candidate). To tell you the truth, I have been holding off on some vpython programs because I wanted to do them in the NEW vpython, not the OLD vpython. So, if you want to get the new vpython, go to http://vpython.org/index5.html. What is so great about VPython 5.0?…

Numerical calculations are grand. Of course, they are just another form of normal calculations – like I have said before. So, I have mostly used [VPython](http://vpython.org) for my calculations on my posts. But there is a new game in town: [Easy Java Simulations](http://www.um.es/fem/Ejs/). What is the difference between these two? Which is better for students?…

Maybe you know I like numerical calculations, well I do. I think they are swell. [VPython](http://vpython.org) is my tool of choice. In the post [Basics: Numerical Calculations](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/10/basics-numerical-calculations.php) I used vpython and excel to do something simple. I will do that again today (in that this problem could also be solved analytically). However, there is one…

Basics: Numerical Calculations

**Pre Reqs:** [Kinematics](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/09/basics-kinematics.php), [Momentum Principle](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2008/10/basics-forces-and-the-momentum-principle.php) What are “numerical calculations”? Why are they in the “basics”? I will give you really brief answer and then a more detailed answer. Numerical calculations (also called many other things – like computational physics) takes a problem and breaks into a WHOLE bunch of smaller easier problems. This is great…

In my classes, I like to bring up the question: *Why do astronauts float around in space?* The most common response to this question is that they float around because there is no gravity in space. Some people take this a small step further and say that there is no gravity in space because there…

Physics of Linerider III: Air Resistance

There is no air resistance in line rider. Sorry to spoil the suspense. To test for the presence of an air resistance force, a track was created that let the rider fall. ![linerider air 1](http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/linerider-air-1.jpg) (note the markers on the side. These are used to keep track of how the origin is moving). Below is…