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Abstract Title: E&M Plane Wave Visualization Designed for Improved Student Understanding
Abstract: It is well known that plane waves in electricity and magnetism (E&M) are misunderstood. Particularly, the traditional visual representation of these plane waves is misleading, and students are confused by the waves' three-dimensional nature, which may contribute to difficulties in both polarization and diffraction. A wealth of possible improvements to the representation have been designed by various educators, programmers, and illustrators. A series of three qualitative studies was performed to separate out the visuals that aid in student understanding and to develop guidelines for designing visualizations. Large traveling planes of electric and magnetic field vectors improved student understanding without causing visual difficulties. Therefore, the visualization provided by the URL below is recommended for use as a replacement of the traditional representation in introductory physics course materials. The readers of this work are encouraged to use the visualization and share it with their departments and institutions.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: 3.I1

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Michael B Wilson
North Carolina State University
Durham, NC 27703
Phone: 6093691372