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Abstract Title: Student Understanding of Quantum Measurement and Uncertainty
Abstract: Introductory courses in classical physics appear to be promoting in students a perspective we are calling local realism, where, for example, it is assumed that a particle's position and momentum have simultaneous reality – both physical quantities can be described with well-defined values at all times.  Such a perspective can be problematic for introductory quantum physics students, who must develop new epistemic and ontological resources in order to properly interpret what it means to have knowledge of quantum observables.  We document this evolution in student thinking in part through pre/post-instruction evaluations using the CLASS survey.[1]  We further characterize variations in student epistemic and ontological commitments by examining responses to coupled essay questions and quantum attitudes statements.  We find that, despite performance level in the course, many students are still exhibiting a realist perspective in some quantum contexts. We also find that this effect can be significantly influenced by instruction, where we observe variations for courses with differing learning goals.

[1] Adams, et al. "The design and validation of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey," PERC Proceedings 2004.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Charles Baily
University of Colorado, Boulder/Department of Physics
2000 Colorado Ave
Boulder, CO 80309
Phone: (303) 817-3126
Fax: (303) 492-3352
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Noah Finkelstein
University of Colorado, Boulder
Department of Physics
UCB 390
Boulder, CO 80309-0309
(303) 735-6082