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Quantum Interpretations in Modern Physics Instruction Documents

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Quantum Interpretations in Modern Physics Instruction 

written by Charles Baily and Noah D. Finkelstein

Just as expert physicists vary in their personal stances on interpretation in quantum mechanics, instructors hold different views on teaching interpretations of quantum phenomena in introductory modern physics courses. There has been relatively little research in the physics education community on the variation in instructional approaches with respect to quantum interpretation, and how instructional choices impact student thinking. We compare two modern physics courses taught at the University of Colorado with similar learning environments, but where the instructors held different views on how to teach students about interpretations of quantum processes. We find significant differences in how students from these two courses responded to a survey on their beliefs about quantum mechanics; findings also suggest that instructors who choose to address student ontologies should do so across a range of topics.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 3, 2009

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