Publication Type:

Contributed Talk


AAPT Summer 2020, Virtual (2020)


<p>Because a “spins-first” approach is becoming a more common method of teaching quantum mechanics, we want to know how the knowledge of discrete spin systems might help student’s understanding of continuous quantum systems. Leveraging computation, where wavefunctions are necessarily discretized, is a promising strategy of exploring this. During the junior-year of Oregon State University’s physics curriculum, students take a computational lab course in parallel with the “spins-first” lecture course. In this computational lab, students solve quantum problems by pair-programming in Python. We observed three pairs of students in class while they worked on a computational task of taking inner products of wavefunctions and basis states. In this talk, we will discuss the concepts of inner products students transferred from the discrete case used in the lecture course to the continuous case used in the computational lab and how they implemented these mathematical and physical concepts into their code.</p>