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ERIC Number: EJ913070
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Teaching Elementary Particle Physics: Part I
Hobson, Art
Physics Teacher, v49 n1 p12-15 Jan 2011
I'll outline suggestions for teaching elementary particle physics, often called "high energy physics," in high school or introductory college courses for non-scientists or scientists. Some presentations of this topic simply list the various particles along with their properties, with little overarching structure. Such a laundry list approach is a great way to make a fascinating topic meaningless. Students need a conceptual framework from which to view the elementary particles. That conceptual framework is quantum field theory (QFT). Teachers and students alike tend to quake at this topic, but bear with me. We're talking here about concepts, not technicalities. My approach will be conceptual and suitable for non-scientists and scientists; if mathematical details are added in courses for future scientists, they should be simple and sparse. Introductory students should not be expected to "do" QFT, but only to "understand its concepts." Those concepts take some getting used to, but they are simple and can be understood by any literate person, be she plumber, attorney, musician, or physicist.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A