Unfortunately, the software does have some glaring omissions. For instance, it does not allow treatment of heat flow, work or entropy. You cannot, for example, simulate a piston. Also, the support materials were clearly developed by educators with different views of the target audience; some sections are aimed at beginners, whereas others are perhaps more appropriate for graduate students. The software designer has set up a special Web page for Scientific American readers to submit suggestions for a future version. Despite its limitations, Molecular Dynamics is a wonderful aid for understanding how atoms build up our universe. And for free, how can you possibly go wrong?
To download your free copy of Molecular Dynamics, link to Stark Design's site. For more information about this and other projects, check out the Society for Amateur Scientists's Web site. You may write to the society at 4735 Clairemont Square, PMB 179, San Diego, CA 92117, or call 619-239-8807.
This article was originally published with the title Modeling the Atomic Universe.