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PERC 2013 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Investigating student difficulties with Dirac notation in quantum mechanics
Abstract: Quantum mechanics is challenging even for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Dirac notation is a convenient notation used extensively in quantum mechanics. We explore the difficulties that the advanced undergraduate and graduate students have with Dirac notation. We administered free response and multiple-choice questions to students to investigate the difficulties. We also interviewed some students individually using a think aloud protocol to obtain a better understanding of the rationale behind their responses. We find that many students struggle with Dirac notation and are not consistent in using this notation correctly. In particular, their correct and incorrect answers to questions involving Dirac notation are context dependent. We will discuss some findings. Supported by the National Science Foundation
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Chandralekha Singh
University of Pittsburgh
4421 Schenley Farms Terr
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 4126249045
and Co-Presenter(s)
Emily Marshman