Leaders: Aaron Holman, Elissa Levy and Fernand Brunschwig

In the quantum world how can a particle be in two places at once? Learn to demo the “principle of superposition” with simple equipment!

Description: In the microscopic quantum world, how can a particle be in two places at once? This so-called “principle of superposition” is simply the way the world works, and, surprisingly, demonstrating it does not require elaborate equipment! We will show, using polarization of light and simple “home-brew” materials, how to create quantum superposition. We will also demonstrate how probability inevitably governs what we observe, how this is used in current research, and how to teach these ideas in a fun and easy way.

This workshop has three parts: (1) We will model a “simple” two-state quantum system using a set of “quantum toys.” We will see how Dirac’s “bra” and “ket” vector notation successfully predicts how polarized light behaves. Participants will leave with a video and the tools to bring a hands-on, classroom-ready demonstration to their students. (2) We will explore how light interacts with structured materials and how the resulting diffraction can create patterns of light with a CD and various colored laser pointers. (3) Finally, we will jump into Professor Sebastian Will’s modern atomic physics lab at Columbia University. Graduate student Aaron Holman will explain his research and how he uses laser diffraction to create patterns of atoms guided by powerful lasers – a significant achievement toward being able to pick up, steer, and control individual atoms.

This workshop is presented by the Quantum Physics Outreach Project (QPOP) a collaboration between physics Prof. Sebastian Will of Columbia University and Fernand Brunschwig of STEMteachersNYC. QPOP is funded by the National Science Foundation. All teachers are welcome, regardless of quantum physics background. We will cover different material from our prior QPOP workshops, so please join us whether or not you’ve attended a previous QPOP workshop!

STEMteachersNYC delivers professional development workshops for teachers, but teachers, about teaching, since 2011. All workshops over 2hrs offer CTLE. CUNY Pre-service teachers may attend for free; Brooklyn College Pre-service teachers receive Field Site hours. Please reach out if your school requires an invoice. We are an NYCDOE MTAC Vendor.

Dates: One FREE 3-hour VIRTUAL Session, 3/13/2022

Cost: FREE!

Current CUNY students with valid ID may attend for FREE! Please email yadana@stemteachersnyc.org for your code to register.

Email questions to Registration@STEMteachersNYC.org. Note this workshop requires a minimum number of participants. In the event there are not enough participants, the workshop will be cancelled, and a refund will be issued.


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