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Lectures will be held weekly, with the same lecture taught once on a weekday and once during the weekend

Lectures will last 2 hours typically


Jan 22nd through May 26th, 2024


Wednesdays 4pm-6pm PT / 7pm-9pm ET

Saturdays 10am-12pm PT/ 1pm-3pm ET


Apply by December 8th, 2023
to be a 2024 CRANE scholar



Part I: Introduction to Python

Jan 22nd to Feb 16th, 2024

Learn Python basics in preparation for Part II including variables, loops, and functions. Each class will be taught twice.

Part II: Numerical Methods

Feb 20th to March 22nd, 2024

Learn how to build basic physics simulations from scratch, using numerical integration, finite difference methods, etc.

Part III: Supplementary Skills (Optional)

March 25th to April 5th, 2024

Learn practical skills for a scientific workflow including LaTeX, using the Terminal, and Git. This time can also be used as a break for students who would rather have the time off.

Part IV: Advanced Algorithms

April 8th to May 26th, 2024

Advanced topics including signal and image processing, particle-in-cell codes, astronomy data analysis and Monte Carlo simulations will be taught during parallel multi-week seminar sessions


Part I
Introduction to Python

January 22nd to February 16th, 2024

Week 1
Introduction to Python I: Syntax, Variables, and Arrays
Week 2
Introduction to Python II: Loops, Functions, and Plotting
Week 3
Introduction to Python III: Data Analysis and Visualization
Week 4
Review session and mini project
Part II
Numerical Methods

February 20th to March 22nd, 2024

Week 5
Numerical Differentiation and Discretization: Euler's Method

Solve & evolve basic mechanics problems with Euler's method

Week 6
Numerical Differentiation and Discretization: Runge-Kutta Method

Solve & evolve the same mechanical systems as last week with a new method

Week 7
Solving Complex Physics Problems with Built-in Python Solvers

Use Python's Runge-Kutta-based solvers to launch a rocket and evolve a planetary system with Kepler's laws

Week 8
1D Finite Difference Method

Solving Poisson's Equation in 1D: Electrostatics, Diffusion, and Heat Transfer

Week 9
The Fast Fourier Transform (FFT)

Doing Fourier transforms of 1D and 2D data, how to filter signals with FFT spectra

Part III (Optional)
Supplemental Skills

March 25th to April 5th, 2024


LaTeX is a software for preparing nicely formatted documents, typically scientific papers, resumes or presentations. Learn the basics of this extremely useful tool for making extremely nicely formatted papers, typesetting equations and vastly simplifying making bibliographies.


The Terminal is a prompt where commands can be entered to navigate around one's operating system and perform many tasks. Learn basics of Bash, the language of the terminal, and how to feel like a hacker in the movies by remotely logging in to a computer.


Git is a system of managing files and code that allows users to track versions of each file. Learn about managing a coding project with the basic commands of Git.

Part IV
Advanced Algorithms

April 8th to May 26th, 2024


Advanced algorithms will be taught in seminar series of up to 5 weeks, with some tracks running in parallel and some staggered to allow students to participate in multiple tracks.

Monte Carlo (MC) Track
April 13th, 20th, 27th, & May 1st
  1. Exploring randomization through mini-projects to grasp concepts of Monte Carlo

  2. Solving an actual math problem using Monte Carlo

  3. Applying Monte Carlo to neutronics of a barebones nuclear fission reactor

  4. Optional buffer week to help complete unfinished projects from Weeks 1-3

Signal and Image Processing (SIP) Track
April 13th, 20th, 27th & May 1st
  1. Analysis and Model-Fitting of Langmuir Probe Data

  2. Advanced signal filtering Techniques

  3. Model-fitting for plasma density for Laser Interferometry Data

  4. Tracking a feature across multiple image frames

Magnetohydrodynamics with FLASH
April 10th, 17th, 24, May 1st & 8th
  1. What is FLASH, how to get it, and how to use it

  2. The Sedov and Sod shock tube problems and how to make simple changes to the FLASH code

  3. The double mach reflection problem and how to create boundary conditions

  4. Magnetic reconnection and how to define parameters 

  5. Laser-slab test problem

Particle in Cell (PiC) Track
Starts week of May 8th
  1. Introduction to Julia and Euler's and Boris Push Method to solve Newton's Equations for a charged particle (cyclotron motion)

  2. 1D & 2D  Finite Difference Method for Electrostatics and Magnetostatics

  3. Particle-in-Cell Algorithm

  4. Putting it all together (Penning Cell, Magnetic Mirror)

Astronomy Data Analysis (ADA) Track
Starts in May
  1. Astro APIs, Advanced Plotting, and an Astronomer’s Toolbox!

  2. Introduction to Machine Learning for Astronomers

  3. Nuts & Bolts of Astronomical Observations: Photometry + Spectroscopy

Machine Learning
Starts in May
  1. Linear and Logistic Regression

  2. Gradient Descent

  3. Neural Networks

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