Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses
written by
Donald B. Mountcastle,
Brandon Bucy, and
John R. Thompson
Equilibrium properties of macroscopic systems are highly predictable as n, the number of particles approaches and exceeds Avogadro's number; theories of statistical physics depend on these results. Typical pedagogical devices used in statistical physics textbooks to introduce entropy (S) and multiplicity () (where S = k ln()) include flipping coins and/or other equivalent binary events, repeated n times. Prior to instruction, our statistical mechanics students usually gave reasonable answers about the probabilities, but not the relative uncertainties, of the predicted outcomes of such events. However, they reliably predicted that the uncertainty in a measured continuous quantity (e.g., the amount of rainfall) does decrease as the number of measurements increases. Typical textbook presentations assume that students understand that the relative uncertainty of binary outcomes will similarly decrease as the number of events increases. This is at odds with our findings, even though most of our students had previously completed mathematics courses in statistics, as well as an advanced electronics laboratory course that included statistical analysis of distributions of dart scores as n increased.
Physics Education Research Conference 2007
Part of the PER Conference series Greensboro, NC: August 1-2, 2007 Volume 951, Pages 152-155
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Record Link
<a href="https://www.compadre.org/portal/items/detail.cfm?ID=9092">Mountcastle, D, B. Bucy, and J. Thompson. "Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2007, Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007.</a>
AIP Format
D. Mountcastle, B. Bucy, and J. Thompson, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2007, Greensboro, NC, 2007, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9092&DocID=2009).
AJP/PRST-PER
D. Mountcastle, B. Bucy, and J. Thompson, Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2007, Greensboro, NC, 2007, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9092&DocID=2009>.
APA Format
Mountcastle, D., Bucy, B., & Thompson, J. (2007, August 1-2). Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2007, Greensboro, NC. Retrieved June 22, 2018, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9092&DocID=2009
Chicago Format
Mountcastle, D, B. Bucy, and J. Thompson. "Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2007, Greensboro, NC, August 1-2, 2007. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9092&DocID=2009 (accessed 22 June 2018).
MLA Format
Mountcastle, Donald, Brandon Bucy, and John Thompson. "Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses." Physics Education Research Conference 2007. Greensboro, NC: 2007. 152-155 Vol. 951 of PER Conference. 22 June 2018 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9092&DocID=2009>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{
Author = "Donald Mountcastle and Brandon Bucy and John Thompson",
Title = {Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses},
BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2007},
Pages = {152-155},
Address = {Greensboro, NC},
Series = {PER Conference},
Volume = {951},
Month = {August 1-2},
Year = {2007}
}
Refer Export Format
%A Donald Mountcastle
EndNote Export Format
%0 Conference Proceedings Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.
Citation Source Information
The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual. The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References. The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation. The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ. Student Estimates of Probability and Uncertainty in Advanced Laboratory and Statistical Physics Courses:Know of another related resource? Login to relate this resource to it. |
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