NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1076819
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1554-9178
Teaching Quantum Interpretations: Revisiting the Goals and Practices of Introductory Quantum Physics Courses
Baily, Charles; Finkelstein, Noah D.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v11 n2 p020124-1-020124-14 Jul-Dec 2015
Most introductory quantum physics instructors would agree that transitioning students from classical to quantum thinking is an important learning goal, but may disagree on whether or how this can be accomplished. Although (and perhaps because) physicists have long debated the physical interpretation of quantum theory, many instructors choose to avoid emphasizing interpretive themes; or they discuss the views of "scientists" in their classrooms, but do not adequately attend to "student" interpretations. In this synthesis and extension of prior work, we demonstrate the following: (i) instructors vary in their approaches to teaching interpretive themes; (ii) different instructional approaches have differential impacts on student thinking; and (iii) when student interpretations go unattended, they often develop their own (sometimes scientifically undesirable) views. We introduce here a new modern physics curriculum that explicitly attends to student interpretations, and provide evidence-based arguments that doing so helps them to develop more consistent interpretations of quantum phenomena, more sophisticated views of uncertainty, and greater interest in quantum physics. [This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics Courses.]
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
Grant or Contract Numbers: NSF CAREER 0448176; NSF DUE 1322734; NSF IUSE 1432204