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Top : Software : Scientific : Physics

Low-Spec Hardware? Try these Desktop Environments
I have selected my pick of desktop environments that are excellent candidates for older hardware. They typically run well on low-spec machines, even a system with a Pentium II 266MHz CPU, a processor that is now 16 years old. All of the desktops are released under freely distributable licenses. If your Linux box feels sluggish in general use, try one of the desktops featured below. It may just save you from discarding a perfectly good machine.

(Read more)
Nautilus is a desktop-management and service-delivery platform for the network user environment (NUE), a framework for making computers easy to use and maintain. Read more


  • ROOT
    ROOT is a comprehensive object oriented framework that provides a solid foundation on which large scale data analysis applications can be built. Read more hot
  • GVB
    GVB (Good ViBrations) is a small program to simulate vibrations in 1 and 2 dimensions. It features several calculation, drawing methods and starting positions and the ability to dump frames to png (so that they can be used to build animations). new
    ABINIT allows you to find the total energy, charge density and electronic structure of systems made of electrons and nuclei (molecules and periodic solids) within Density Functional Theory, using pseudopotentials and a planewave basis.
  • B2
    B2 is an object-oriented extensible data analysis system implemented under Oberon System environment. The system is designed for efficient analysis of data from multidetector Nuclear Physics experiments.
    BACKLIGHT is a photorealistic relativistic visualisation system that produces images and videos demonstrating the optical effects of special relativity.
    CAvity Modelling FRamework: fast, flexible, friendly full-vectorial Maxwell solver. Although it can tackle general electromagnetic problems, its main focus is on applications in the field of photonics
    CFITSIO is a library of C and Fortran subroutines for reading and writing data files in FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) data format. CFITSIO simplifies the task of writing software that deals with FITS files by providing an easy to use set of high-level routines that insulate the programmer from the internal complexities of the FITS file format.
  • ChiantiPy
    ChiantiPy is a Python interface to the CHIANTI atomic database for astrophysical spectroscopy.
  • CompHEP
    CompHEP is a package for automatic calculations of elementary particle decays and collision processes in the lowest order of perturbation theory (the tree level approximation). The main idea behind the program is to make available passing on from the Lagrangian to the final distributions effectively with a high level of automation. Read more
  • COSY Infinity
    COSY Infinity is an arbitrary order beam dynamics simulation and analysis code. It allows the study of accelerator lattices, spectrographs, beamlines, electron microscopes, and many other devices. It can determine high-order maps of combinations of particle optical elements of arbitrary field configurations.
    CRUNCH is a program for solving the phase problem in Single-Crystal X-ray diffraction. It consists of two unique procedures: Direct methods, based on Karle-Hauptman Determinants, and automatic extension of partial structures, based on the R2-function.
  • Debyer
    Debyer takes a file with atom positions as input and can output X-ray and neutron diffraction patterns, the total scattering structure function, the pair distribution function (PDF), and related functions (RDF, reduced PDF). It can be used for comparison of molecular dynamics simulations or other models of atomistic structure of the material with X-ray and neutron powder diffraction experiments. The parallel version uses the MPI library.
  • Dervish
    SDSS Human Interface Visualization Environment
    DIRDIF is for crystal structure determination by Patterson methods and direct methods applied to difference structure factors.
  • DRAWxtl
    DRAWxtl displays crystal structures in two forms, one that can be disseminated across the Internet using the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), and a second for publication-quality drawings using the Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer (POV-RAY) scene language.
  • EASY-2007
    EASY-2007 consists of a wide range of codes, data and documentation all aimed at satisfying the objective of calculating the response of materials irradiated in a neutron flux. It is designed to investigate fusion devices which will act as intense sources of high energy (14 MeV) neutrons and cause significant activation of the surrounding materials.
  • Einstein Toolkit
    The Einstein Toolkit currently consists of an open set of over 100 Cactus thorns for computational relativity along with associated tools for simulation management and visualization. The toolkit includes a vacuum spacetime solver (McLachlan), a relativistic hydrodynamics solver (formerly the public version of the Whisky code), along with thorns for initial data, analysis and computational infrastructure.
  • Electron Gamma Shower
    Electron Gamma Shower (EGS) is a general purpose package for the Monte Carlo simulation of the coupled transport of electrons and photons in an arbitrary geometry for particles with energies from a few keV up to several TeV.
  • Elfelli Flux Line Simulator
    Elfelli is a tool to simulate and visualize electric flux lines around arbitrary positioned, electric charged bodies. It is able to export PNG files of the current canvas. Elfelli is written in C++ and uses gtkmm as interface for the popular GTK+ GUI toolkit.
  • EMAN
    EMAN is a program for display and manipulation of electron micrographs. It's primary advantage over programs like boxmrc and imagic is that it is much more interactive and easier to use. It does not do 3d reconstructions, but rather specializes in 2d image manipulation.
  • EMAP
    ElectroMagnetic Analysis Program is a family of three-dimensional finite element modeling codes that can be used to analyze simple 3-dimensional geometries.
  • EMWave2D
    EMWave2D is a general purpose electromagnetic wave simulation program. It is developed using gtk+ and c program. It uses the finite difference time domain (FDTD) method to solve the Maxwell's equations.
  • Enhanced Machine Controller Antenna Range
    The Enhanced Machine Controller-based Antenna Range (EMCAR) employs EMC2-based machine control to implement an automated measurement system for antenna radiation pattern data (i.e. an antenna range).
    EPICS is a set of software tools and applications for the purpose of building distributed control systems.
  • epicstcl
    epics Tcl/Tk support software provides Tcl/Tk support to access the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS). It includes EPICS-aware widgets that make building control panels easier.
  • eXsas
    extended X-ray scientific analysis system is designed for the interactive analysis of X-ray and XUV data with particular emphasis on the analysis of data from the ROSAT mission.
  • F-PhotoLITography optics simulation application
    (F)PhotoLITography optics simulation application (FLIT) simulates the propagation of light waves in a photolithograph. The mask is described by a vector file, which is rasterized with the required resolution.
    Frequency domain INterfErometer Simulation SotfwarE (FINESSE) is a numeric simulation for laser interferometers using the frequency domain and Hermite-Gauss modes. It is easy to use for students.
  • FlipDCD
    FlipDCD is a small utility for reversing the endianism of binary DCD trajectory files from Charmm, and NAMD. This can be useful when running simulations on one architecture and visualizing or analyzing the results on another. FixDCD is a tiny utility to modify the header of an X-PLOR DCD file to make it readable by programs expecting Charmm DCD files, at the expense of a Timestep size value in the header.
  • FísicaLab
    FísicaLab is an educational application to solve physics problems.
  • GASP
    (commercial) General Aerodynamic Simulation Program.
  • Geant4
    Geant4 is a toolkit for the simulation of the passage of particles through matter. Its application areas include high energy physics and nuclear experiments, medical, accelerator and space physics studies. Read more
  • Gravetat
    Gravetat is a gravity and electromagnetism simulator. It offers you the possibility of creating a universe with a few particles and then see how them interact due to the forces mentioned before.
  • Gstat
    Gstat is for geostatistical modelling, prediction and simulation; uses gnuplot for the display of sample variograms and variogram function.
  • hc2
    hc2 calculates the upper critical field for s- and d-wave superconductors as a function of temperature and tilt angle of the external field.
    Software packages that are useful for high energy experiments. They include a C-based library to process Hermes event data, a library which provides a client-server model on different machines to access adamo tables with reduces net traffic, an interface to access Adamo and Dad data from the X11 script language Tcl/Tk and more.
  • holocrunchies
    holocrunchies is a Computational holography program. It generates diffraction patterns for 2-D images.
  • Interactive Spectral Interpretation System
    The Interactive Spectral Interpretation System (ISIS) is designed to facilitate the interpretation and analysis of high resolution X-ray spectra. It is being developed as a programmable, interactive tool for studying the physics of X-ray spectrum formation, supporting measurement and identification of spectral features and interaction with a database of atomic structure parameters and plasma emission models.
  • LaserCalc
    LaserCalc is an Open Source Gnome application for the calculation of optical beam paths and laser resonators based on Gaussian beam matrix optics. In addition beam paths can be optimized to match given beam parameters (mode matching).
  • Light Speed!
    Light Speed! is an OpenGL-based program developed to illustrate the effects of special relativity on the appearance of moving objects. When an object accelerates to more than a few million meters per second, it begins to appear warped and discolored in strange and unusual ways, and as it approaches the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s) the effects become more and more bizarre.
  • LightPipes
    LightPipes for Mathcad is a set of functions written in C available to Mathcad It is designed to model coherent optical devices when the diffraction is essential. The toolbox consists of a number of functions. Each function represents an optical element or a step in the light propagation. There are apertures, intensity filters, beam-splitters, lenses and models of free space diffraction in LightPipes.
  • MagSolve
    MagSolve is an interactive suite of programs which allows the solution of 2-dimensional static magnetic field problems by the Finite Element Method.
  • McPHase
    MCPHASE is a program designed to calculate the magnetic structures of a magnetic system given the exchange interaction constants. A combined mean-field/monte-carlo algorithm is used. For a given temperature T and magnetic field H several possible magnetic structures are stabilized by a mean field algorithm and the free energy is calculated. The initial values for this mean-field procedure are modified by a Monte Carlo process.
  • Mecanica
    Mecanica is simulation software for classical mechanics. It's all written in Portuguese and should help physics students to solve their exercises.
  • Meep
    Meep is a free finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation software package to model electromagnetic systems. It supports distributed-memory parallel simulations, nonlinear and dispersive media, PML absorbing boundaries, and 1D/2D/3D/cylindrical problems. Meep is completely scriptable from either C++ or a Scheme (GNU Guile) interface.
  • MIT Photonic-Bands
    MIT Photonic-Bands is for computing the band structures (dispersion relations) and electromagnetic modes of periodic dielectric structures.
  • Mol_Volume
    Mol_Volume calculates the volume of a macromolecule by a method somewhat akin to the Monte Carlo method, namely, by measuring how many vertices of a dense regular grid happen to be within the probe radius of the molecule's atoms.
  • MultiBody Dynamics
    MBDyn features the integrated multidisciplinary analysis of multi-body, multi-physics systems, including nonlinear mechanics of rigid and flexible constrained bodies, smart materials, electric networks, active control, hydraulic networks, and essential fixed-wing and rotorcraft aerodynamics. It allows you to simulate the behavior of heterogeneous mechanical, aero-servo-elastic systems based on first principles equations. It is being actively developed and used in the aerospace and automotive fields for dynamics analysis and simulation of complex systems. The extension of available analysis domains to new models, and new analysis domains, is planned and problem-driven.
  • NEC
    NEC is code for modelling electromagnetic response of antennas and other metal structures.
  • nMod
    nMod nBody Modelling Toolkit contains a 'Particle Particle' class nBody Model and associated utilities. nMod is intended for use in Computational Astronomy, Spaceflight Simulation and general nBody Problem investigation. The toolkit is aimed at Researchers and students who would expand nMod to suit the experiments they wish to perform.

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