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Activities

Computational Activity

120 min.

##### Kinetic energy
Students implement a finite-difference approximation for the kinetic energy operator as a matrix, and then use numpy to solve for eigenvalues and eigenstates, which they visualize.
• Found in: Computational Physics Lab II course(s) Found in: Computational wave function inner products sequence(s)

Small Group Activity

60 min.

##### Expectation Value and Uncertainty for the Difference of Dice

You have a system that consists of two identical (fair) six-sided dice. Imagine that you will perform an experiment where you roll the pair of dice together and record the observable: the norm of the difference between the values displayed by the two dice.

1. What are the possible results of the observable for each roll?

2. What is the theoretical probability of measuring each of those results? Assume the results are fair.

Plot a probability histogram. Use your histogram to make a guess about where the average value is and the standard deviation.

3. Use your theoretical probabilities to determine a theoretical average value of the observable (the expectation value)? Indicate the expectation value on your histogram.

4. Use your theoretical probabilities to determine the standard deviation (the uncertainty) of the distribution of possible results. Indicate the uncertainty on your histogram.

5. Challenge: Use

1. Dirac bra-ket notation
2. matrices

to represent:

• the possible states of the dice after a measurement is made;

• the state of the dice when you're shaking them up in your hand;

• an operator that represents the norm of the difference of the dice.

• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s)

Problem

5 min.

##### Electric Field of a Finite Line

Consider the finite line with a uniform charge density from class.

1. Write an integral expression for the electric field at any point in space due to the finite line. In addition to your usual physics sense-making, you must include a clearly labeled figure and discuss what happens to the direction of the unit vectors as you integrate.Consider the finite line with a uniform charge density from class.
2. Perform the integral to find the $z$-component of the electric field. In addition to your usual physics sense-making, you must compare your result to the gradient of the electric potential we found in class. (If you want to challenge yourself, do the $s$-component as well!)

Kinesthetic

10 min.

##### Using Arms to Represent Overall and Relative Phase in Spin 1/2 Systems
Students, working in pairs, use the Arms representations to represent states of spin 1/2 system. Through a short series of instructor-led prompts, students explore the difference between overall phase (which does NOT distinguish quantum states) and relative phase (which does distinguish quantum states).
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s) Found in: Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States sequence(s)

Small Group Activity

10 min.

##### Using Tinker Toys to Represent Spin 1/2 Quantum Systems
Students use Tinker Toys to represent each component in a two-state quantum spin system in all three standard bases ($x$, $y$, and $z$). Through a short series of instructor-led prompts, students explore the difference between overall phase (which does NOT change the state of the system) and relative phase (which does change the state of the system). This activity is optional in the Arms Sequence Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States.
• Found in: Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States sequence(s)

Computational Activity

120 min.

##### Sinusoidal basis set
Students compute inner products to expand a wave function in a sinusoidal basis set. This activity introduces the inner product for wave functions, and the idea of approximating a wave function using a finite set of basis functions.
• Found in: Computational Physics Lab II course(s) Found in: Computational wave function inner products sequence(s)