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Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy
written by Nathan Crossette, Michael Vignal, and Bethany R. Wilcox
As a first step in a larger study of student reasoning in upper-division thermal physics, we conducted thinkaloud interviews with 8 physics graduate students to probe their understanding of entropy. In this paper, we'll discuss results from a question which presented students with a novel system--a string in a bath of water--and asked students to rank the probabilities of particular arrangements of the string, define macrostates of the system, and discuss specifically what is meant by the entropy of the system. Exploring graduate students' understanding of entropy and their ability to solve problems and reason with entropic arguments will provide insights into how physicists develop a mature understanding of entropy as a physical quantity. We find a tendency for graduate students to project properties of macrostates onto constituent microstates, and discuss other observations. We identify connections to previous research and lay out the next steps for this project.
Physics Education Research Conference 2020
Part of the PER Conference series
Virtual Conference: July 22-23, 2020
Pages 98-103
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
- Cognition
Thermo & Stat Mech
- Ensembles
= Macrostate
= Microstate
- Second and Third Law
= Entropy
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2020…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 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.2020.pr.Crossette
Keyword:
PERC 2020
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created August 27, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
August 30, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 1, 2020
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
N. Crossette, M. Vignal, and B. Wilcox, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2020, Virtual Conference, 2020, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15466&DocID=5314).
AJP/PRST-PER
N. Crossette, M. Vignal, and B. Wilcox, Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2020, Virtual Conference, 2020, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15466&DocID=5314>.
APA Format
Crossette, N., Vignal, M., & Wilcox, B. (2020, July 22-23). Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2020, Virtual Conference. Retrieved March 1, 2021, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15466&DocID=5314
Chicago Format
Crossette, N, M. Vignal, and B. Wilcox. "Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2020, Virtual Conference, July 22-23, 2020. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15466&DocID=5314 (accessed 1 March 2021).
MLA Format
Crossette, Nathan, Michael Vignal, and Bethany Wilcox. "Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy." Physics Education Research Conference 2020. Virtual Conference: 2020. 98-103 of PER Conference. 1 Mar. 2021 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15466&DocID=5314>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Nathan Crossette and Michael Vignal and Bethany Wilcox", Title = {Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2020}, Pages = {98-103}, Address = {Virtual Conference}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {July 22-23}, Year = {2020} }
Refer Export Format

%A Nathan Crossette
%A Michael Vignal
%A Bethany Wilcox
%T Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy
%S PER Conference
%D July 22-23 2020
%P 98-103
%C Virtual Conference
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15466&DocID=5314
%O Physics Education Research Conference 2020
%O July 22-23
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Crossette, Nathan
%A Vignal, Michael
%A Wilcox, Bethany
%D July 22-23 2020
%T Investigating how graduate students connect microstates and macrostates with entropy
%B Physics Education Research Conference 2020
%C Virtual Conference
%P 98-103
%S PER Conference
%8 July 22-23
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15466&DocID=5314


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