"Once a new technology rolls over you,
if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road." - Stewart Brand
"If people do not believe that mathematics is simple,
it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is." -John von Neumann
Information technology has transformed the study of physics, enabling scientists not only to calculate, but to communicate and speculate, as well. Using them in physics classes and in lab courses throughout their years at Gettysburg College, physics majors are taught the mathematical skills necessary to achieve a comprehensive understanding of computers and computer programs.
With computers performing simulations of natural phenomena, controlling laboratory equipment, and recording and analyzing large volumes of data from various experiments, the amount of labor required to obtain numerical results has been greatly reduced. This provides researchers with time to find meaningful patterns in those numerical results, to build and study models, to unleash the imagination, and to reinforce what education has always understood: knowledge is power.
The Computer Science Department offers formal courses in computer programming, and Student Computing (G-Tech) provides free, continuous training sessions. Students develop programming proficiency to perform calculations and solve homework problems; many programs that have already been prepared by faculty and other students for various physics courses are also available.