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Abstract Title: Investigating student understanding of the stationary state wavefunction for a system of identical particles
Abstract: We discuss an investigation of student difficulties with concepts related to the many-particle stationary state wavefunction for a system of non-interacting fermions or bosons in cases in which the many-particle stationary state wavefunction can be written as the product of the spatial and spin parts. The investigation was carried out in advanced quantum mechanics courses by administering free-response and multiple-choice questions and conducting individual interviews with students. We find that students share many common difficulties related to these concepts. Many students struggled to write a many-particle stationary state wavefunction consistent with the symmetrization requirements for the system, i.e., a completely antisymmetric wavefunction for a system of fermions or a completely symmetric wavefunction for a system of bosons. We discuss the common difficulties pertaining to these concepts that can be used as a guide to develop research-validated learning tools.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: 1.L3
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Christof Keebaugh
Franklin and Marshall College
Lancaster, PA 17603
and Co-Presenter(s)
Emily Marshman, Community College of Allegheny College
Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh