[Mesa-users] Grad stellar structure & evolution course

Rob Farmer r.j.farmer at uva.nl
Fri Oct 6 12:37:13 EDT 2017


pyMesa is a little too low level I think for this for now and it can't run
a full star, yet.  Just running Mesa in python is trivial with pythons
subprocess command (which just runs things in a shell). The tricky bit is
making a nice interface for editing inlists. The plotting side we already
have several python packages that could be gui-ified or integrated into a


On 6 Oct 2017 18:12, "Bill Paxton" <paxton at kitp.ucsb.edu> wrote:

Hi Sean,

Good to hear from you.  And thanks for the suggestions.  Something along
those lines sounds both doable and useful.

Rob Farmer has made a great start of adding Python interfaces to some of
the MESA physics modules such as eos, rates, neu, atm, and kap.   Perhaps
his pyMESA can evolve to do the things you mention (
https://github.com/rjfarmer/pyMesa).  Or perhaps it will be simpler to make
a fresh start just aimed at the ease of use of mesa stellar evolution with
emphasis on students new to programming/computation.  It is definitely
something I’ll look into.

Would love to hear from other mesa-users on this topic.


On Oct 6, 2017, at 8:32 AM, Sean M. Couch <couch at pa.msu.edu> wrote:

I think the top of my wishlist, particularly for using MESA as a teaching
tool, would be a Python/Jupyter notebook interface. We use a lot of Jupyter
notebooks and Python in our instruction and it is very approachable for
students new to programming/computation. An interface to MESA could provide
utilities for changing inlists, running a pre-compiled MESA binary, and
automagically plotting output in the notebook.


Sean M. Couch
Assistant Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Department of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering
National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/Facility for Rare Isotope
Michigan State University
567 Wilson Rd
<https://maps.google.com/?q=567+Wilson+Rd&entry=gmail&source=g>, 3250 BPS
East Lansing, MI  48824
(517) 884-5035    ——    couch at pa.msu.edu    ——    www.pa.msu.edu/~couch

On October 5, 2017 at 5:29:35 PM, Bill Paxton (paxton at kitp.ucsb.edu) wrote:

It would be valuable to get some feedback from folks who have used mesa in
courses about what might be done to make that easier and more valuable. In
particular, what would stop you from using it in a course for students
without programming experience? There’s a lot that can be done with mesa
just by editing inlists and never looking at a line of code, let alone
writing any.

Is the command line interface a barrier to non-programming students? I
imagine many of them have never used a command line interface! Would it
help to have a simple GUI that replaced the terminal by a more familiar
interface of buttons and text fields?

Or is the initial installation and compilation a show stopper for students
without programming background? What would be a useful workaround for that?

What else? It’s time to generate a wish list. Feel free to endorse the
worthy project of a new mesa-based textbook, but some of the current blocks
to using mesa in the classroom might be solved more quickly than a new text
can be created!

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