A Gentle Introduction To Python

By Jonathan B. Miller

This is an online guidebook for the workshop entitled A Gentle Introduction to Python, by Jonathan B. Miller, for the Liberal Arts Scholarship and Technology Summit (LASTS) at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, on Thursday, August 15th, 2013.

Workshop description

Stop fighting the computer and instead make it do your bidding. Learn how to get up and running with Python, a general-purpose coding language that is both newbie friendly yet very powerful. Python is used at large organizations such as Google, Yahoo!, CERN, and NASA, and in many famous applications including Youtube, Dropbox, Instagram, and Reddit. Attendees in this workshop will get a taste of basic computer science concepts via in-class examples and have opportunities to apply the knowledge in guided exercises. No coding experience is necessary. Learn by doing -- bring your computer.

Last updated on 2013-08-14

Show 00: Python Setup

  • Getting and installing Canopy

Show 01: Your first program

  • print() to make text appear on the screen (in the console).
  • # for commenting-out (hiding) text from the computer.

Show 02: Strings, Integers, and Floats

  • more print()
  • more # commenting
  • strings
  • ints
  • floats

Do 01

  • Basic practice of strings and numbers.

Show 03: Variables

  • variables, if statements, conditions.

Show 05: Rowing

  • more lists
  • using others' functions
  • some math

Do 02

  • More strings and numbers, with a taste of lists and if statements.

The Path Ahead

  • Resources to keep you busy

The source code for this workshop's documentation lives at https://bitbucket.org/JMill/lasts2013py. There is also a README.