Quantum Mechanics for H.S. Students for Summer 2023
Teacher: John Kernion
Dates: June 6 – June 30, 2023 (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:00 pm, ET)
Price for Registration: $200
Course Description: This 4-week non-credit course (8 one-hour class sessions) will provide students with knowledge of quantum mechanics in the following ways:
- A brief but thorough historical overview of physics and the reasons for the development of quantum mechanics (Session 1).
- The nuts and bolts of quantum mechanics including introductions to both wave mechanics and matrix mechanics and their use in quantum mechanics. Specific foundational ideas such as the wavefunction, uncertainty, the Schrodinger equation, wave-particle duality, and quantum entanglement, among many others, will be taught through discussion on both conceptual and mathematical levels (Sessions 2 through 5).
- The application of quantum mechanics to various physical systems (Session 6).
- An overview of the interpretations of quantum mechanics (Sessions 7 and 8).
Course Delivery: This course will be taught online using live Zoom sessions. Generally, students must attend the eight online sessions in order to receive a certificate of completion which can be used to bolster college and internship applications. If an absence cannot be avoided, a recording of the session must be viewed prior to the next session, as the topics addressed in each session will build on previous discussions. While there is no graded homework or assessments for this course, there are resources provided to students that will complement the ideas presented in the live sessions. Students are expected to be active participants in each session.
Why Take This Course: Many high school students have been exposed to quantum mechanics in a very basic way through chemistry and physics courses. Some find the topic fascinating but have difficulty procuring appropriate resources and internalizing quantum ideas through available books and websites that are generally written for college undergraduates in science majors, graduate-level physics students, or interested adults. This course provides the background needed to truly begin an intellectual journey into quantum mechanics before college. Students who start this journey in high school will find their university experience enhanced because the foundational ideas needed to form mental models of quantum mechanical concepts will have a solid structure on which to build. Taking this course will simply make the experience of science- and math-oriented high school students richer when exposed to quantum mechanical ideas in college and beyond.
Prerequisite Knowledge: A strong background in both math and science is essential. For a student to benefit from this course, a working knowledge of the following is necessary:
Math Knowledge: Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry (all at the high school level), and Basic Calculus.
(Note: For students without a background in calculus, a pre-course introduction video will be provided that must be viewed prior to the start of the course.)
Science Knowledge: Chemistry and Physics (both at the high school level).
Instructor Qualifications: Dr. Kernion has been teaching physics to advanced high school students for over 30 years. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in Ceramic Engineering from Penn State, a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Duquesne University, and a doctorate in STEM Education from the University of Pittsburgh. He began his career as a research engineer at US Steel, before earning certification to teach Chemistry and Physics. For nearly three decades, Dr. Kernion taught AP Physics for the North Allegheny School District in western Pennsylvania where he also served as the chairman of the Science Department. For the past 7 years he has taught AP Physics online with PA Homeschoolers using resources he created through Physics Prep, an online education company he founded in 2014.