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Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states
written by Christof Keebaugh, Emily Marshman, and Chandralekha Singh
We discuss an investigation of student difficulties with determining the number of distinct many-particle stationary states for a system of non-interacting identical particles. Here we focus on a system in which there are a fixed number of available single-particle states and a fixed number of particles but the total energy of the system is not fixed. The investigation was carried out in advanced quantum mechanics courses by administering free-response and multiple-choice questions and conducting individual interviews with students. We find that upperlevel undergraduate and graduate students share many common difficulties related to these concepts. Many students struggled to determine the number of distinct many-particle stationary states and make connections between the number of distinct many-particle stationary states and the number of many-particle stationary state wavefunctions possible with the given constraints. Additionally, we found that many students had difficulty with mathematical sense-making in the context of quantum mechanics.
Physics Education Research Conference 2018
Part of the PER Conference series
Washington, DC: August 1-2, 2018
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
Mathematical Tools
- Probability
Quantum Physics
- Multi-particle Systems
= Fermions and Bosons
= Pauli Exclusion Principle
- Upper Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/perc.20…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2018.pr.Keebaugh
NSF Numbers:
1505460
1806691
Keyword:
PERC 2018
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 31, 2018 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
February 4, 2019 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 31, 2018
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
C. Keebaugh, E. Marshman, and C. Singh, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC, 2018, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14806&DocID=4953).
AJP/PRST-PER
C. Keebaugh, E. Marshman, and C. Singh, Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC, 2018, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14806&DocID=4953>.
APA Format
Keebaugh, C., Marshman, E., & Singh, C. (2018, August 1-2). Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14806&DocID=4953
Chicago Format
Keebaugh, C, E. Marshman, and C. Singh. "Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC, August 1-2, 2018. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14806&DocID=4953 (accessed 24 March 2019).
MLA Format
Keebaugh, Christof, Emily Marshman, and Chandralekha Singh. "Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states." Physics Education Research Conference 2018. Washington, DC: 2018. of PER Conference. 24 Mar. 2019 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14806&DocID=4953>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Christof Keebaugh and Emily Marshman and Chandralekha Singh", Title = {Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2018}, Address = {Washington, DC}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {August 1-2}, Year = {2018} }
Refer Export Format

%A Christof Keebaugh
%A Emily Marshman
%A Chandralekha Singh
%T Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states
%S PER Conference
%D August 1-2 2018
%C Washington, DC
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14806&DocID=4953
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2018
%O August 1-2
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Keebaugh, Christof
%A Marshman, Emily
%A Singh, Chandralekha
%D August 1-2 2018
%T Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2018
%C Washington, DC
%S PER Conference
%8 August 1-2
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14806&DocID=4953


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Student difficulties with the number of distinct many-particle states for a system of non-interacting identical particles with a fixed number of available single-particle states:


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