Physics: Computed Galactic Dynamics: an Introduction to Many-body Systems
SESSION: Physics: Computed Galactic Dynamics: an Introduction to Many-body Systems
EVENT TYPE: Communities, Education
TIME: 10:30AM - 12:00PM
Speaker(s):Dave Joiner, Norman Chonacky
ABSTRACT: The evolution in distribution of stars within a galaxy can be numerically simulated by applying Newton's laws of gravitation and motion to stars that are initially distributed randomly in space. This evolution is most instructive if it can be visually rendered to capture both its temporal progress and spatial features. Current technology brings this within the reach of an individual desktop only if the number of stars is relatively small. We present two concepts that anticipate future generations of technology. One is Galaxsee, a simulation program that uses clusters to achieve the necessary computational speed with a realistic number of stars. Another is the Barnes-Hut algorithm managing a tradeoff between speed and accuracy. We will: demonstrate Galaxsee's use and discuss its learning objectives; show the B-H's design and discuss its operation, helping prepare participants for the session "Integration of Computation into Undergraduate Physics" - integrating computation into traditional physics courses.