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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.

Class Information

  • Class meets Monday (7pm-8pm) and Wednesdays (7:30pm-8:30pm) in 131A NCH (Campbell Hall).
  • Tutorials are started in tutorial (WED) each week and are due by 7:30pm of the following Wednesday (before the start of the next lab).
  • Imad's Office Hours: TBA
  • Chris's Office Hours: TBA
  • Late Policy:Late tutorials can be turned in for up to 50% credit up to one week after the due date.

  • To be Posted

Welcome to the Universe

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." -Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space