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You don’t have to be a physicist to know that, at the moment, the world is experiencing a surge of interest in quantum physics. From “beyond the black hole” to “quantum teleportation” to “quantum computing,” quantum physics has gripped the popular imagination, in no small part because of the invention and subsequent use of the transistor. In the 1960s, transistors, with their 3-dimensional structure, gave scientists the power to fabricate a miniature world, where the minute movements of the electrons formed the building blocks of computing. In contrast, quantum physics takes the world of the atom to a new level, exposing it as a far more complex and interesting universe than any classical physics could ever hope to explain. Despite all this recent interest, the subject has been neglected by many high school physics teachers. A half century ago, a report to the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) by the organization’s Commission on the Teaching of Physics recommended that all teachers teach classical physics at a high school level (instead of beginning high school students with quantum physics). This report suggested that the level of understanding of classical physics should be such that a high school student could understand the implications of modern physics. While this report was in print, some of the leading proponents of quantum physics held up a mirror to our education system. In a series of articles in Physics Today, Richard Feynman argued that the teaching of physics has lagged behind the research and development in the realm of quantum physics. He wrote that the teaching of quantum physics was “the most difficult problem facing the physics community today.” Still others have pointed out that the problem of teaching quantum physics is compounded by the fact that many teachers simply don’t understand the subject themselves. Indeed, even many of those working in the field of quantum physics have forgotten the basics of the subject. When students meet with a quantum physicist, they might have difficulty differentiating the difference between classical and quantum physics, simply because the physicists themselves have lost track of what it is that they study. To solve this problem, Feynman and others have called for the creation of a community of physicists, who would play the role of public scientists, explaining quantum physics


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