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ERIC Number: EJ925107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jul
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
The Pendulum as a Vehicle for Transitioning from Classical to Quantum Physics: History, Quantum Concepts, and Educational Challenges
Barnes, Marianne B.; Garner, James; Reid, David
Science & Education, v13 n4-5 p417-436 Jul 2004
In this article we use the pendulum as the vehicle for discussing the transition from classical to quantum physics. Since student knowledge of the classical pendulum can be generalized to all harmonic oscillators, we propose that a quantum analysis of the pendulum can lead students into the unanticipated consequences of quantum phenomena at the atomic level. We intend to illustrate how classical deterministic physical ideas are replaced by a point of view that contains both deterministic and probabilistic aspects. For example, the wave function contains probabilistic information but it evolves in time according to a fixed law, the Schrodinger equation. Discussion of the transition from classical to quantum thinking is historically grounded in the work of twentieth-century physicists who developed quantum ideas. We see application to current science in areas such as semiconductors, optics, GPS systems, and superconductivity. Our notion is that a scientifically-literate public should have a sense of the broad, conceptual schemes in modern physics, as well as those associated with classical physics. We discuss educational challenges and strategies connected to including quantum theory in a general education physics course. Our work would have other applications in college and secondary school settings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A