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Meeting the challenge

quantum physics in introductory physics courses

Ileana M. Greca, Olival Freire

pp. 183-209

Teaching quantum theory is a legendary difficult task, not only due to its weirdness, but also because it is philosophically sensitive. Examples from the history and philosophy of science show that one of the main challenges is to find a balanced approach between introducing the most basic quantum concepts while taking into account interpretational issues. Although there is no privileged interpretation for QT, teaching and research about QT must make the interpretational choice used explicit. In addition any introductory course should emphasize the strictly quantum features in order to prevent students from establishing undesirable links with classical concepts. While teaching focused on the mathematical formalism remains a choice, pictures may be exploited, but in this case complementarity should be explicitly and carefully introduced. Finally, we argue that the teaching of QT, maybe more than other areas in physics, must be informed by the history and philosophy of science.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7654-8_7

Full citation:

Greca, I. M. , Freire, O. (2014)., Meeting the challenge: quantum physics in introductory physics courses, in M. R. Matthews (ed.), International handbook of research in history, philosophy and science teaching, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 183-209.

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