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ERIC Number: EJ1083342
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1554-9178
Students' Difficulties with Vector Calculus in Electrodynamics
Bollen, Laurens; van Kampen, Paul; De Cock, Mieke
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v11 n2 p020129-1-020129-14 Jul-Dec 2015
Understanding Maxwell's equations in differential form is of great importance when studying the electrodynamic phenomena discussed in advanced electromagnetism courses. It is therefore necessary that students master the use of vector calculus in physical situations. In this light we investigated the difficulties second year students at KU Leuven encounter with the divergence and curl of a vector field in mathematical and physical contexts. We have found that they are quite skilled at doing calculations, but struggle with interpreting graphical representations of vector fields and applying vector calculus to physical situations. We have found strong indications that traditional instruction is not sufficient for our students to fully understand the meaning and power of Maxwell's equations in electrodynamics.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A