Computers and computer-based instruction pervade our educational institutions, and much of experimental and theoretical physics cannot be done without the aid of computers. Despite these advances in teaching and research, computational physics remains absent from the typical undergraduate physics program. Students are bombarded with simulated reality by instructors, textbook publishers, and Hollywood directors, but few students are prepared to critically assess these simulations. The absence of computation and modeling is one of the most striking examples of our failure to update the curriculum. The OSP Collection seeks to address this failure.
Our premise is that when students are not actively involved in computation and modeling they lose out on much of what can be learned from computer simulations. Although the modeling method can be used without computers, the use of computers allows students to study problems that are difficult and time consuming, to visualize their results, and to communicate their results with others. Computational physics and computer modeling engaging students in the design of physical models to describe, explain, and predict phenomena. We believe that the combination of computational physics and computer modeling with theory and experiment can achieve insight and understanding that cannot be achieved with only one approach.