International Journal of
Physical Sciences

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Phys. Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-1950
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPS
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2557

Full Length Research Paper

Pre-service physics teachers’ comprehension of wave function and operator concepts in quantum mechanics

Department of Secondary Science and Mathematics Education, Faculty of Education, University of Hacettepe, 06800 Beytepe, Ankara, Turkey.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 28 April 2011
  •  Published: 04 June 2011


This qualitative study investigates students’ comprehension of wave function and operator concepts. The data of the study were collected by semi-structured interviews with 34 pre-service physics teachers and analyzed by using the content analysis method. As a result of qualitative analysis, different categories were determined towards the students’ comprehension of wave function and operator concepts.  These results showed that (1) students did not have enough knowledge to define the concepts of wave function and operator properly, (2) they were influenced by the perspective of classical physics in making explanations related to the concepts of quantum mechanics, and (3) a great number of students who participated in the study made explanations by using examples frequently used in quantum mechanics. It is hoped that the results of this study will help the educators to recognize the students’ comprehensions in both modern physics and quantum mechanics courses.


Key words: Comprehension, modern physics, operator, physics education, quantum mechanics, wave function.