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Abstract Title: Investigating the influence of visualization on student understanding of quantum superposition
Abstract: Visualizations in interactive computer simulations are a powerful tool to help students develop productive mental models, particularly in the case of quantum phenomena that have no classical analogue.  We describe efforts to refine the visual representation of a single-photon superposition state in the QuVis simulations.  We developed various depictions of a photon incident on a beamsplitter, and investigated their influence on student thinking through individual interviews.  Outcomes from this study led to the incorporation of a revised visualization in all QuVis single photon simulations.  In-class trials in 2013 and 2014 using the Interferometer Experiments simulation in an introductory quantum physics course were used for a comparative study of the initial and refined visualizations.We found that the revised visualization reduced the frequency of incorrect ideas about quantum superposition, such as the photon splitting into two half-energy components.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Antje Kohnle
University of St Andrews
North Haugh
St Andrews, Non U.S. KY16 9SS
Phone: 0044 1334 463195
Fax: 0044 1334 463104
and Co-Presenter(s)
Charles Baily, University of St Andrews
Scott Ruby, University of St Andrews

Contributed Paper

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Contributed Poster

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