Teaching Quantum Theory - between the Photoelectric Effect and Quantum Information


Quantum theory as a basic physical theory has to be part of the physics education at school. At least the most fundamental features and principles of it have to be conveyed to the students. However there is no general consensus and a certain uncertainty about the main focus of teaching. One striking difference between classical and quantum physics is represented by the nature of physical objects that are in interaction with each other. In classical terms, waves and matter or particles are clearly distinguished, but in quantum theory these cannot be separated uniquely. Hence, a central notion of a quantum physics course might be the quantum property of waves and correspondingly the wave property of matter whereas other people deem the uncertainty relations or the entanglement the most important aspect. These differences can be viewed as the fight of a well established and familiar historically inspired approach versus an approach oriented towards the newest experimental results. A more didactical question arises from the problem of how the students could get a feeling for the specialities of quantum physics. A balance between concrete experiences and the abstract formalism has to be found. Further, the difficulties in the transition from classical to quantum reveal as an important aspect the necessity of interpreting the experimental quantum results in terms of classical physics. So interpretation appears to be an inherent element of doing physics and makes clear its modeling aspect. We will propose a curriculum in quantum physics trying to reconcile the differing lines of teaching.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Pospiech2010TeachingQT, title={Teaching Quantum Theory - between the Photoelectric Effect and Quantum Information}, author={Gesche Pospiech}, year={2010} }