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Abstract Title: Advanced students’ and faculty members’ reasoning about the double-slit experiment with single particles
Abstract: We describe an investigation focusing on advanced students' and faculty members' understanding and reasoning about two questions related to the double-slit experiment with single particles. One of the questions posed was a standard double-slit question while the other was more speculative. First, undergraduate and graduate students in advanced quantum mechanics courses were asked the questions in written form and six students were interviewed individually using a think-aloud protocol in which they were asked follow up questions to make their thought processes explicit regarding their responses to the questions. We also interviewed five faculty members who had taught modern physics, quantum mechanics and/or solid-state physics to understand their reasoning and thought processes. All faculty members provided thoughtful responses to the more speculative question related to the double-slit experiment with single particles, which shed light on what it means to think like a physicist. Student responses varied greatly in their correctness and sophistication of reasoning and suggested that while some advanced undergraduate and graduate students had come a long way in learning to think like a physicist in the challenging quantum mechanics contexts of the problems posed, others needed guidance and scaffolding support in order to develop expert-like reasoning skills.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: C38

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Ryan Sayer
Bemidji State University
Bemidji, MN 56601
Phone: (218) 755-2781
and Co-Presenter(s)
Alexandru Maries, University of Cincinnati
Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh