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written by Trevor I. Smith, John R. Thompson, and Donald B. Mountcastle
As part of research into student understanding of topics related to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics at the upper division, we have identified student difficulties in applying concepts related to the Boltzmann factor and the canonical partition function. With this in mind, we have developed a guided-inquiry worksheet activity (tutorial) designed to help students develop a better understanding of where the Boltzmann factor comes from and why it is useful. The tutorial guides students through the derivation of both the Boltzmann factor and the canonical partition function. Preliminary results suggest that students who participated in the tutorial had a higher success rate on assessment items than students who had only received lecture instruction on the topic. We present results that motivate the need for this tutorial, the outline of the derivation used, and results from implementations of the tutorial.
Physics Education Research Conference 2010
Part of the PER Conference series
Portland, Oregon: July 21-22, 2010
Volume 1289, Pages 305-308
Subjects ADS Supplements Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
- Instructional Material Design
= Tutorial
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Ensembles
= Boltzmann Distribution
= Partition Function
- General
- Reference Material
= Report
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
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- Researchers
- Professional/Practitioners
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Formats:
application/pdf
non-digital
Mirror:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3515230
Access Rights:
Limited free access and
Available for purchase
A preprint of the work is available. A hard copy of the PERC 2010 proceedings is available for purchase from the AIP.
Restriction:
© 2010 American Institute of Physics
DOI:
10.1063/1.3515230
PACSs:
01.40.Fk
01.40.G-
01.30.Cc
05.20.-y
05.20.Jj
Keywords:
Boltzmann factor, PERC 2010, guided-inquiry, physics education research, statistical mechanics, thermal physics, tutorial
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 8, 2010 by Alea Smith
Record Updated:
February 27, 2011 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 24, 2010
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
T. Smith, J. Thompson, and D. Mountcastle, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, 2010, WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10485&DocID=1941).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. Smith, J. Thompson, and D. Mountcastle, Addressing Student Difficulties with Statistical Mechanics: The Boltzmann Factor, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, 2010, <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10485&DocID=1941>.
APA Format
Smith, T., Thompson, J., & Mountcastle, D. (2010, July 21-22). Addressing Student Difficulties with Statistical Mechanics: The Boltzmann Factor. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10485&DocID=1941
Chicago Format
Smith, T, J. Thompson, and D. Mountcastle. "Addressing Student Difficulties with Statistical Mechanics: The Boltzmann Factor." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, July 21-22, 2010. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10485&DocID=1941 (accessed 25 October 2014).
MLA Format
Smith, Trevor I., John Thompson, and Donald Mountcastle. "Addressing Student Difficulties with Statistical Mechanics: The Boltzmann Factor." Physics Education Research Conference 2010. Portland, Oregon: 2010. 305-308 Vol. 1289 of PER Conference. 25 Oct. 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10485&DocID=1941>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Trevor I. Smith and John Thompson and Donald Mountcastle", Title = {Addressing Student Difficulties with Statistical Mechanics: The Boltzmann Factor}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2010}, Pages = {305-308}, Address = {Portland, Oregon}, Series = {PER Conference}, Volume = {1289}, Month = {July 21-22}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Trevor I. Smith
%A John Thompson
%A Donald Mountcastle
%T Addressing Student Difficulties with Statistical Mechanics: The Boltzmann Factor
%S PER Conference
%V 1289
%D July 21-22 2010
%P 305-308
%C Portland, Oregon
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10485&DocID=1941
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2010
%O July 21-22
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Smith, Trevor I.
%A Thompson, John
%A Mountcastle, Donald
%D July 21-22 2010
%T Addressing Student Difficulties with Statistical Mechanics: The Boltzmann Factor
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2010
%C Portland, Oregon
%V 1289
%P 305-308
%S PER Conference
%8 July 21-22
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=10485&DocID=1941


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