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Abstract Title: Student Use of Dirac Notation to Express Probability Concepts in Quantum Mechanics
Abstract: As part of an effort to examine student understanding and use of mathematical representations in quantum mechanics, clinical interviews were conducted and online surveys were administered to students in an upper-division quantum mechanics course. In one interview task, developed to investigate student understanding of representations for probability concepts, students generated expressions in Dirac notation consistent with quantum mechanical formalism, with a number describing their expressions using geometric, vector-like ideas and concepts.  Student responses to a survey intended to probe student understanding of Dirac notation inner products are also discussed, as similar vector-like reasoning was found here as well.  The beginnings of a symbolic forms analysis of both data sources is discussed, and some preliminary symbol templates used for Dirac notation are proposed.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: 3.K3

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: William Riihiluoma
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469
and Co-Presenter(s)
John R. Thompson
University of Maine