Meeting the Challenge: Quantum Physics in Introductory Physics Courses

  • Ileana M. Greca
  • Olival FreireJr.


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.


Science Education Quantum Theory Classical Concept Local Realism Science Education Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



 We are thankful to CAPES, CNPq, FAPESB, and Universidade Estadual da Paraiba, Brazil, for the support to this research. We are grateful to the editor, Michael Matthews, and the reviewers for their critical comments; to David Kaiser, for reading and commenting the paper; and to Denise Key for her help with the English.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Didácticas Específicas, Facultad de Humanidades y EducaciónUniversidad de BurgosBurgosSpain
  2. 2.Instituto de FísicaUniversidade Federal da BahiaSalvadorBrazil

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