Java simulations for physics education

Paper submitted to a special issue of Concurrency: Practice and Experience following the Java for Computational Science and Engineering Workshop held at NPAC, Syracuse University on the 16/17th December 1996.

Submitted: 5th February 1997.

Simeon Warner, Simon Catterall, Edward Lipson
Department of Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1130, USA


We discuss the use of World Wide Web-based Java simulations in teaching physics to K--12 and undergraduate students. Our work focuses on the physics of membranes and illustrating how such systems are studied. We propose that Java should be used not only to produce small versions of research simulations but also to provide models illustrating simpler concepts underlying the main subject matter. In particular, applets should be tailored to the context in which they appear and should be as intuitive to use as possible. The applets we are developing are described in the context of current client performance. We also highlight the development of collaborative systems as an area of particular interest.

Electronic version

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Last updated 17 February 1997