It has been said that a mind, once stretched, never regains its original dimensions. Perimeter Institute’s award winning Outreach department has launched The Challenge of Quantum Reality, a truly mind-expanding in-class education module that provides high school students with an energizing and accessible introduction to quantum physics.
“We’re very pleased to be able to share the ideas and the excitement of modern physics and to help teachers inspire the next generation of physics researchers,” says Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute (PI). “This is a very powerful in-class resource that introduces students to abstract ideas from the quantum world.”
The Challenge of Quantum Reality is the second installment in PI’s Perimeter Explorations series of in-class educational resources that assist teachers in bringing modern physics into the classroom. The first, The Mystery of Dark Matter, has already introduced 100,000 high school students across Canada and around the world to fascinating ideas and discoveries about the cosmos.
This new resource includes a 30-minute DVD and a comprehensive teacher’s guide complete with student worksheets, hands-on activities and background information for teachers. The entire kit is viewable online and is free to download for teachers worldwide. Educators can also order a DVD copy of the video component for delivery around the globe, while North American teachers can order the entire hardcopy kit – all via Perimeter Institute’s website at www.perimeterinstitute.ca.
Success in the Classroom
During its creation, the resource was tested by over 100 students and teachers, including an international group of educators gathered at Perimeter Institute for the most recent EinsteinPlus Teachers Workshop. After watching it, Dave Doucette, president of the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers, Canada’s largest association of physics educators, commented that The Challenge of Quantum Reality “is an outstanding classroom resource. I highly recommend it.”
Eminent physicist Professor Leonard Susskind, one of the founders of string theory, colleague of Stephen Hawking, PI Distinguished Research Chair and presenter of a popular course on quantum physics at Stanford University called the video “the best explanation of one of the great puzzles of modern science I have ever seen” and “highly entertaining.”
Challenging the Next Generation
The world inside the atom—the quantum world—is wondrously strange, and the theory governing its behaviour is so counterintuitive that even Einstein had a hard time accepting it. Yet quantum physics is arguably the single most important theory in all of physics, and the basis of a dizzying array of technologies, including lasers, integrated circuits in computers and MRIs.
The Challenge of Quantum Reality focuses on wave-particle duality: the mind-bending notion that electrons can be two completely different things – waves and particles – at the same time. It is one of the core, defining ideas of quantum physics that separates it from all the physics that came before. The DVD includes footage of one of the world’s first electron double-slit experiments, performed in February 2009 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In addition to explanations offered by scientists from around the world, including Prof. Stephen Hawking, viewers are guided through this quantum adventure by two high school students, two enigmatic guides, and Perimeter Institute Outreach expert Dr. Damian Pope.
The full resource includes:
- DVD - with state-of-the-art animation and indexed chapters to stop/start as required
- Suggested Ways to Use the Module - incuding lesson outlines
- Curriculum Links - commonly taught topics related to quantum physics
- Student Activities - hands-on demonstrations and mathematical appendices
- Background Information – to give teachers a deeper understanding
Available to View and Order Online
The Challenge of Quantum Reality is now available to view and download online at Perimeter Institute’s website, and free copies on DVD (for teachers only) can be ordered while quantities last. The first module, The Mystery of Dark Matter, is also available online and all components can be downloaded for classroom use.
The first public screening of The Challenge of Quantum Reality will be Saturday, October 17 at Perimeter Institute’s Quantum to Cosmos festival which runs on-site in Waterloo from October 15-25 and is online at http://www.q2cfestival.com/. This festival marks Perimeter Institute’s 10th Anniversary and is expected to attract over 40,000 on-site visitors.