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dc.contributor.authorLi, Yujia
dc.contributor.authorKohnle, Antje
dc.contributor.authorPassante, Gina
dc.contributor.editorBennett, Michael
dc.contributor.editorFrank, Brian
dc.contributor.editorVieyra, Rebecca
dc.identifier.citationLi , Y , Kohnle , A & Passante , G 2021 , Student difficulties with quantum uncertainty in the context of discrete probability distributions . in M Bennett , B Frank & R Vieyra (eds) , 2021 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings . PER Conference Proceedings , American Association of Physics Teachers , pp. 227-232 , Physics Education Research Conference 2021 , 4/08/21 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 275578258
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: d54f85d4-e28a-463c-8839-15bfbdfe188c
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0003-2638-4826/work/101581360
dc.descriptionFunding: We thank the University of St Andrews for funding the development of simulations.en
dc.description.abstractQuantum uncertainty is a fundamental concept in quantum mechanics, but challenging for students to master. In this article, we describe student difficulties with visual and conceptual understanding of quantum uncertainty in the context of discrete probability distributions such as those for a spin 1/2 particle. We collected written responses from students at two institutions to a homework activity focusing on uncertainty of spin measurement outcomes, as well as written responses to a test question from one of the institutions. We also conducted interviews with six students to gain further insight into difficulties found. Common incorrect ideas found included a depiction of uncertainty as the error around each of the individual measurement outcomes, not depicting the uncertainty region from the expectation value outwards, and the idea that quantum uncertainty of an observable can never be zero. These ideas may indicate a confusion between quantum uncertainty and errors due to instrumental imperfections of the measurement apparatus, a lack of conceptual understanding of quantum uncertainty as the standard deviation of the probability distribution with respect to its mean, and an incorrect interpretation of the uncertainty relation between two incompatible observables to deduce that quantum uncertainty can never be zero. The results of this study show the importance of supporting students in visual and conceptual understanding of quantum uncertainty.
dc.publisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers
dc.relation.ispartof2021 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedingsen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesPER Conference Proceedingsen
dc.rightsCopyright © 2021 American Association of Physics Teachers. This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.en
dc.subjectLB Theory and practice of educationen
dc.subjectQC Physicsen
dc.subjectTK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineeringen
dc.titleStudent difficulties with quantum uncertainty in the context of discrete probability distributionsen
dc.typeConference itemen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Physics and Astronomyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for Higher Education Researchen

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