Miles V. Aronnax's blog

Physics and Linux: Dual Boot Alternatives

As a former IT professional, I occasionally get questioned by fellow physics students about how to install Linux. Usually, the questioner has heard about dual boot and wants to install Linux because they are using it for work / research. However other, often better, options exist for people who don't want to switch over completely.

Losing at the Lottery Made Simple

Most of us know that we shouldn't play the lottery. Statistically, the odds of winning a significant amount of money are tiny to infinitesimal. Sadly, we sometimes have difficulty accepting that we wouldn't win if we tried really hard. I mean, there has to be a way to beat the system, doesn't there?

Amusing Physics Programs

Below the fold, you can find a list of programs that let you see physics in action. Want to build a Rube Goldberg machine but don't want to have to clean up the mess? Try Phun. Want to try your hand at building a more interesting solar system? Universe Sandbox is for you. Want closed form solutions to Schrodinger's equation for arbitrary Hamiltonians? Yeah, I wish I had a program to do that too.

Example: A Quick Maple Primer for Physics Students

Not exclusively for physics students, but it was created with me and my ilk in mind. The primer is a Maple document (also available as a PDF), which shows how to use the simple functions in Maple that most physics students would need.

If you'd prefer Ross L. Spencer's Maple for Physics Students: Complete Set of Lessons, you can download that from's site.

If you are some sort of lunatic who prefers Mathematica, I don't have a primer for you, but you can download the workbooks from Robert Zimmerman & Fredrick Olness's Mathematica for Physics (click the "Individual Files" link). I would caution that these workbooks would probably be more understandable with the accompanying text (ISBN-13: 978-0805387001).

Example: passing data between FORTRAN and C

I was recently trying to pass data back from C to FORTRAN for a program I'm using. While I found plenty of stuff on sending data from FORTRAN to C, but when I tried to use it in reverse, I got some gibberish. Below is my solution and here is a gunzip'd tarball of all the files involved.

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