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Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform

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Date and time Feb 26, 2009
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Location McLennan Physics (MP) 102
Host Daniel James

Lincoln Carr

Abstract:

In this talk, I will address how we can bring quantum mechanics education at the graduate level into the 21st century.  Sadly, many programs still do not present quantum mechanics as a theory based on clear postulates.  The word entanglement has not even entered many graduate courses, let alone any kind of innovation in teaching methodology. Physics education research has had quantifiable success at improving introductory courses.  Can these successes be translated to the graduate environment?  We performed a three year longitudinal study at the Colorado School of Mines in which we incorporated new developments in quantum mechanics over the last three decades, new partially-Socratic teaching techniques, new textbooks, and new evaluation methods.  I will present the results of these efforts, and the surprising conclusions we drew from our education-research-based approach using a suite of qualitative and quantitative assessment tools.

Reference: L. D. Carr and S. A. McKagan, "Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform," American Journal of Physics in press, e-print http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.2628 (2008).

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