EDUCATION: Off to Quantum School

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Science  01 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5556, pp. 771
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5556.771b

If seeing is believing, then a visit to Visual Quantum Mechanics should help high school students and college nonscience majors understand the essential concepts of quantum physics. Produced by the Physics Education Research Group at Kansas State University, Manhattan, the site offers interactive animations that demonstrate, without using mathematics, the quantum mechanical origins of atomic spectra, laser action, diffraction of matter, and other phenomena. The easy-to-use animations generally require the student to work through mock experiments, such as analyzing the spectrum of a light-emitting diode with a prism. The connection to real-world devices should help convince students that quantum mechanics is useful. The site also provides a number of tutorials that explain the basic physics and incorporate the animations.

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