What is it?
The Python Decal is a semester long, student facilitated course on programming with an emphasis on astronomical applications. The purpose of the class is to introduce science-field students (physics, astrophysics, etc.) who may not have the time to take a more in depth class like CS61A to scientific computing. Both the upper division lab classes in the Astronomy department and essentially every research position in the physical sciences requires knowledge of at least one programming language. In the astronomical fields, primary languages include IDL, Python, Fortran, and C (or C++). Python is a great first language to learn because it is newer (without many archaic syntactical structures), and it is the direction modern research groups are trending towards for data analysis. It is also a helpful stepping stone to learning other languages.
The Decal assumes no prior experience in computing, and starts from the absoulte basics.