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Abstract Title: “Classical-ish”: Negotiating the Boundary between Classical and Quantum Particles
Abstract: Developing physical intuition about quantum mechanics can seem like a departure from our everyday experience of the physical world, but we build new ideas from our existing ones. We examine video data from a focus group doing a tutorial about the "particle in a box." In reasoning about the properties of a quantum particle, the students bring in elements of a classical particle ontology, which are evident not only through the students' language but through their use of gestures. This is modulated by metacognitive moments in which the group explicitly takes up questions of whether classical intuitions are valid for the quantum system. Through this reflection, the students find some cases in which classical ideas can be usefully applied to quantum physics, and others in which they directly contrast classical and quantum mechanics. Negotiating this boundary is part of the process of building quantum intuitions.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Benjamin W. Dreyfus
University of Maryland, College Park
Department of Physics
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 917-821-2405
and Co-Presenter(s)
Erin Ronayne Sohr, University of Maryland, College Park
Ayush Gupta, University of Maryland, College Park
Andrew Elby, University of Maryland, College Park

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster