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written by Michael C. Wittmann
This presentation contains the results of a research study on misconceptions students have concerning wave mechanics and motion. The results indicate that many students have incorrect mental models of waves and use these erroneous models to interpret problems related to wave mechanics. The study also tested instructional methods to help students overcome their difficulties, which represent an obstacle to learning quantum mechanics.  Student thinking on classical wave motion and the related mathematics is also examined.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Alternative Conceptions
Modern Physics
- General
Oscillations & Waves
- Wave Motion
= Interference and Diffraction
= Longitudinal Pulses and Waves
= Phase and Group Velocity
= Transfer of Energy in Waves
= Transverse Pulses and Waves
Quantum Physics
- Probability, Waves, and Interference
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Best practice
= Instructor Guide/Manual
- Reference Material
= Report
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Researchers
- text/html
- image/gif
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© 1997 Michael Wittmann
PER, Power Point, physics education research, report, student thinking, wave mechanics, waves, waves misconceptions
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 17, 2005 by Blake Laing
Record Updated:
October 28, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 18, 1997
Other Collections:

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AIP Format
M. Wittmann, (1997), WWW Document, (
M. Wittmann, Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts (1997), <>.
APA Format
Wittmann, M. (1997, September 18). Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
Chicago Format
Wittmann, Michael. Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts. September 18, 1997. (accessed 21 February 2024).
MLA Format
Wittmann, Michael. Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts. 1997. 18 Sep. 1997. 21 Feb. 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Michael Wittmann", Title = {Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {21 February 2024}, Month = {September 18, 1997}, Year = {1997} }
Refer Export Format

%A Michael Wittmann %T Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts %D September 18, 1997 %U %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Wittmann, Michael %D September 18, 1997 %T Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts %V 2024 %N 21 February 2024 %8 September 18, 1997 %9 text/html %U

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Student Difficulties with Wave Concepts:

Is a Teaching Guide For Physics Classroom: What is a Wave?

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