Professor Hans Petter Langtangen was awarded the Olav Thon Foundation prize for excellence in education 2016. He is a world-leading pioneer introducing python scripting in science education, and his book Python Scripting for Computational Science (Springer) was quickly sold out when it was released in 2003, and the new edition is still on the best-selling lists. The price was awarded for his work on modernizing the education at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo.
Traditionally, science courses with much use of mathematical models applied pen and paper techniques to solve the mathematical problems. This is still so in most courses in the world. However, Langtangen wanted the students to solve mathematical problems through programming from day 1, because this is the way one does mathematics today in industry and research.
In 1999 he started a course at UiO with the aim of teaching scripting and automation in science, and the course notes evolved into the book in 2003, placing UiO in the forefront when it comes to computation in science education.
Langtangen has educated over 1000 people in Python, both scientists and administrative software developers. When he started in 1999, Python was hardly used at all in Norwegian industry, now it is commonly used. And by “Python” Langtangen mean much more than the language, it’s the way of working: automating manual operations for reliability, being more effective, seeing new ways to do things.
This is the second time this price is awarded to a CINPLA member.