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Improving students’ understanding of quantum mechanics via the Stern–Gerlach experiment
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10.1119/1.3546093
/content/aapt/journal/ajp/79/5/10.1119/1.3546093
http://aip.metastore.ingenta.com/content/aapt/journal/ajp/79/5/10.1119/1.3546093

Figures

Image of Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Three sample responses in which students provided incorrect explanations for why there should be one spot instead of two for Question 2. The students’ comments for each figure are typed for clarity.

Image of Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Two sample responses in which students provided incorrect explanations for why the state/beam will bend as shown in response to the magnetic field gradient in Question 2.

Image of Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

A diagram drawn by a student showing the Larmor precession of spin in response to Question 2.

Image of Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Examples of two graduate students’ responses to Question 9.

Image of Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

Set up for a guided example in the tutorial.

Image of Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

A snapshot of the simulation constructed from the SPINS program (Ref. 29) used by students that shows that one can input and obtain . The snapshot shows 493 particles are registered in the detector right after passing through the Stern–Gerlach apparatus with the magnetic field gradient in the negative direction, 244 particles are registered in the detector right after the first Stern–Gerlach apparatus with the magnetic field gradient in the negative direction, and 263 particles are registered in the detector after the second Stern–Gerlach apparatus with the magnetic field gradient in the negative direction.

Image of Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

Analogy between spin states and photon polarization states.

Image of Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

Pictorial representations of a Stern–Gerlach apparatus.

Image of Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

Sketch of the Stern–Gerlach apparatus, initial spin state, and detector for Question 3.

Image of Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

Sketch of the Stern–Gerlach apparatus, initial spin state, and detectors for Question 4.

Image of Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

Sketch of the Stern–Gerlach apparatus, initial spin state, and detectors for Question 6.

Image of Fig. 12.
Fig. 12.

Sketch of the Stern–Gerlach apparatus, initial spin state, and detector for Question 7.

Tables

Generic image for table
Table I.

Scores of the pre-test (after traditional instruction but before the tutorial) and post-test (after the tutorial). The total number of students including both classes who answered each question is given in parenthesis. Each student in a class of 22 students was given the same pre-test and post-test. The pre-test and post-test were mixed for the second class of 13 students as discussed in the text.

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/content/aapt/journal/ajp/79/5/10.1119/1.3546093
2011-04-15
2014-04-24
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752b84549af89a08dbdd7fdb8b9568b5 journal.articlezxybnytfddd
Scitation: Improving students’ understanding of quantum mechanics via the Stern–Gerlach experiment
http://aip.metastore.ingenta.com/content/aapt/journal/ajp/79/5/10.1119/1.3546093
10.1119/1.3546093
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