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Abstract Title: Student Interpretation of Coefficients in Fourier Series
Abstract: As part of ongoing research in student use of math in upper-division physics, we examine student understanding of Fourier analysis. Fourier series are used in a variety of physics contexts and provide the first example of non-Euclidian vector spaces for many students. This study extends previous work in which we highlighted the procedural and conceptual difficulties students have when thinking about Fourier series. We probe how students think about the constant coefficient in front of the Fourier series representation of a function and what it means when graphing the series. We also investigate whether students use the odd or even properties of a function to eliminate terms in the Fourier series. Data were collected at a large four-year university, including nine years of written data from an intermediate-level Mathematical Physics course as well as several interviews.

Supported in part by NSF grant PHY#1406035
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: C51
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Mikayla Mays
California State University - Fullerton
800 N State College Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92831
Phone: 9493065860
and Co-Presenter(s)
Michael Loverude, California State University - Fullerton

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster