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Abstract Title: Research and curriculum development in upper-division thermal physics
Abstract: This poster describes work conducted as part of an NSF-funded project of research and curriculum development in upper-division thermal physics courses.  As part of this project, we have described research on student learning of a number of specific topics on which there is relatively little prior research, including elementary statistics and statistical physics (Loverude 2009), entropy and the approach to thermal equilibrium (Loverude 2012), heat engines (Smith 2009), and Boltzmann factors (Smith 2010).  A second key thread of this project has involved the underlying mathematics and its impact of student learning of physics (Wagner 2011, Wemyss 2011).  In this poster, we will take a broad look at the project as a whole, including research as well as curriculum development efforts, and summarize key findings.  

Supported in part by NSF grants DUE-0817335 and DUE-0817282.
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Helping students acquire functional knowledge in upper-level physics courses

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Michael Loverude
California State University Fullerton
Fullerton, CA