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Abstract Title: Student Reasoning about Eigenvectors and Eigenvalues from a Resources Perspective
Abstract: Eigentheory is important for mathematically modeling quantum mechanical systems. While a growing body of literature exists in the Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education community on student thinking about Linear Algebra concepts, little is known about physics students' understanding of eigenvectors and eigenvalues as they enter a quantum mechanics course. One-on-one, semi-structured interviews were conducted at the beginning of the semester with eight students enrolled in a senior-level quantum mechanics course. Transcripts of these interviews were analyzed using the resources framework (Hammer, 2000; Redish, 2004). This poster will highlight the resources identified in students' reasoning about the equation Ax=2x, including recognizing Ax=2x as an eigenvector/eigenvalue equation, understanding the equal sign in Ax=2x either relationally or operationally (Knuth, Alibali, McNeil, Weinbert, & Stephens, 2005), and knowing a relationship (e.g., x=-y) can be a solution to a system of equations. Connections among these resources within and across students will also be explored.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: C93

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Megan Wawro
Virginia Tech
and Co-Presenter(s)
Kevin Watson, Virginia Tech
Warren Christensen, North Dakota State University