Computational Essays from the University of Oslo

This is the showroom for computational essays written at the University of Oslo. Most of these are on various physics topics, ranging from the introductory to intermediate levels. Computational essays are pieces of writing that explicitly incorporate code to support their theses. They include most or all of the elements one would expect in an ordinary essay (introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, conclusion) and have a similar set of goals (to present a step-by-step argument or explanation). However, the argument in a computational essay is driven by the output of various blocks of code, with the text serving to both explicate the meaning of the code and to explain the output.

The essays are listed in the sidebar. The example essays are written by current faculty and staff members of the University of Oslo’s Center for Computing in Science Education. The student essays are written by past and current physics students. Students were given freedom in the topics and approaches they could take in their essays, so some are in Norwegian. Additionally, we have uploaded some exercises developed based on these computational essays, and some example templates that students could build off of when writing their essays.

Although the essays are presented in a display-only mode, you are welcome to download them or open an interactive version by using the “download” and “interact” buttons at the top of the page.

Any questions or comments can be directed to Tor Ole Odden, t.o.odden@fys.uio.no