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Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
written by Mengesha Ayene Ejigu, Jeanne Kriek, and Baylie Damtie
Quantum mechanics is often thought to be a difficult subject to understand, not only in the complexity of its mathematics but also in its conceptual foundation. In this paper we emphasize students' depictions of the uncertainty principle and wave-particle duality of quantum events, phenomena that could serve as a foundation in building an understanding of quantum mechanics. A phenomenographic study was carried out to categorize a picture of students' descriptions of these key quantum concepts. Data for this study were obtained from a semistructured in-depth interview conducted with undergraduate physics students (N=25) from Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The phenomenographic data analysis revealed that it is possible to construct three qualitatively different categories to map students' depictions of the concept wave-particle duality, namely, (1) classical description, (2) mixed classical-quantum description, and (3) quasiquantum description. Similarly, it is proposed that students' depictions of the concept uncertainty can be described with four different categories of description, which are (1) uncertainty as an extrinsic property of measurement, (2) uncertainty principle as measurement error or uncertainty, (3) uncertainty as measurement disturbance, and (4) uncertainty as a quantum mechanics uncertainty principle. Overall, we found students are more likely to prefer a classical picture of interpretations of quantum mechanics. However, few students in the quasiquantum category applied typical wave phenomena such as interference and diffraction that cannot be explained within the framework classical physics for depicting the wavelike properties of quantum entities. Despite inhospitable conceptions of the uncertainty principle and wave- and particlelike properties of quantum entities in our investigation, this paper's findings are highly consistent with those reported in previous studies. New findings and some implications for instruction and the curricula are discussed.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Alternative Conceptions
- Cognition
Quantum Physics
- General
- Probability, Waves, and Interference
- Upper Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113
PACSs:
01.40.Fk
03.65.-w
Keywords:
Phenomenography, Uncertainty Principle, Wave-Particle Duality
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created April 30, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 21, 2012 by Vince Kuo
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 3, 2011
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AIP Format
M. Ayene Ejigu, J. Kriek, and B. Damtie, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7 (2), 020113 (2011), WWW Document, (http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113).
AJP/PRST-PER
M. Ayene Ejigu, J. Kriek, and B. Damtie, Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle: Phenomenographic categories of description of tertiary physics students’ depictions, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7 (2), 020113 (2011), <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113>.
APA Format
Ayene Ejigu, M., Kriek, J., & Damtie, B. (2011, November 3). Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle: Phenomenographic categories of description of tertiary physics students’ depictions. Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res., 7(2), 020113. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113
Chicago Format
Ayene Ejigu, M, J. Kriek, and B. Damtie. "Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle: Phenomenographic categories of description of tertiary physics students’ depictions." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7, no. 2, (November 3, 2011): 020113, http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113 (accessed 24 March 2019).
MLA Format
Ayene Ejigu, Mengesha, Jeanne Kriek, and Baylie Damtie. "Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle: Phenomenographic categories of description of tertiary physics students’ depictions." Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 7.2 (2011): 020113. 24 Mar. 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Mengesha Ayene Ejigu and Jeanne Kriek and Baylie Damtie", Title = {Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle: Phenomenographic categories of description of tertiary physics students’ depictions}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {7}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020113}, Month = {November}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%A Mengesha Ayene Ejigu
%A Jeanne Kriek
%A Baylie Damtie
%T Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle: Phenomenographic categories of description of tertiary physics students' depictions
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 7
%N 2
%D November 3, 2011
%P 020113
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article
%A Ayene Ejigu, Mengesha
%A Kriek, Jeanne
%A Damtie, Baylie
%D November 3, 2011
%T Wave-particle duality and uncertainty principle: Phenomenographic categories of description of tertiary physics students' depictions
%J Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res.
%V 7
%N 2
%P 020113
%8 November 3, 2011
%U http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020113


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