Science prize goes to an open source project
The monthly Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) from Science magazine has this month been awarded to an open source project. The winner, Open Source Physics, is a web site that provides tools and resources for interactive computer-based modelling; it is intended to help teach students at all levels the principles of computational physics.
Open Source Physics provides a variety of resources for computation and computer modelling. The software is provided as GPL licensed Java code, making it platform independent free software. As the source code is available for every simulation, teachers and students are able to adapt it to their own purposes. In addition, lesson plans and a computational physics textbook are available to help make the best use of the various projects.
The subjects covered are many: astronomy, electricity and magnetism, waves, quantum physics, classical mechanics, fluid mechanics and relativity are among the most prominent. Each item gives details of the level of student for which it is suitable, links to other related items and details of the other resources available.
The SPORE award was initiated by Science magazine in 2009 and first awarded in 2010. The aim of the awards is to recognise the best web sites that promote science education. Each month Science names a winner and publishes an essay by the creators of the web site describing their online resource. Open Source Physics won November's prize and a full listing of the prizes awarded over the last couple of years is available.