The Philosophy Behind These Exercises

Overview

"There was a time when the newspapers said that only 12 men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe there was ever such a time. On the other hand I believe I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."

    ---Richard Feynman [The Character of Physical Law

We have developed curricular material in support of a one-semester, intermediate course in quantum mechanics. This curricular material uses the Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) technique and, where applicable, Physlets to actively engage students outside of the classroom to enhance their in-class experience. Forty-five such JiTT exercises have been developed to stress the visualization of quantum mechanical concepts with the goal of achieving better student understanding of these concepts.

Student Learning of Quantum Mechanics

Learning quantum mechanics is difficult for many students. There are three reasons for this:

The exercises we will have developed are geared to address these difficulties.  Daily JiTT exercises (WarmUps) will help students be better prepared for class.  Students prepared for class by doing these targeted exercises are more motivated to understand the material presented and will actively participate in class. Given how difficult quantum mechanics is to comprehend, this preparation and motivation is crucial.  In addition, the visual nature of Physlet exercises will aid students in understanding both the concepts and the mathematics behind quantum theory. 

Bibliography

Just-in-Time Teaching: Blending Active Learning with Web Technology, G. Novak, E. Patterson, A. Gavrin, and W. Christian, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1999.

Physlets: Teaching Physics with Interactive Curricular Material, W. Christian and M. Belloni, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2000.

Understanding Quantum Physics: A Users Manual, M. Morrison, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1990.

Hyperlink References

http://webphysics.davidson.edu/physletprob, the WWW version of the curricular and reference material that accompanies: Physlets: Teaching with Interactive Curricular Material, W. Christian and M. Belloni, Prentice Hall, 2000.

http://webphysics.davidson.edu/applets/applets.html, the Physlets website.