Date

5-2016

Degree Name

BS in Physics

Department

Physics Department

Advisor(s)

Jennifer Klay

Abstract

Methods of teaching numerical methods to solve ordinary differential equations in the context of galaxy mergers were explored. The research published in a paper by Toomre and Toomre in 1972 describing the formation of galactic tails and bridges from close tidal interactions was adapted into a project targeting undergraduate physics students. Typically undergraduate physics students only take one Computational Physics class in which various techniques and algorithms are taught. Although it is important to study computational physics techniques, it is just as important to apply this knowledge to a problem that is representative of what computational physics researchers are investigating today. The model that was developed is capable of showing general trends in galactic evolution and is a good introduction for students who hope to expand on this topic in the future.