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Exploring Quantum Physics IV

Massive Open Online Course begins its fourth edition on March 30, 2015

“Exploring Quantum Physics" (EQP) a massive open online course (MOOC) on Coursera, begins its fourth edition on March 30, 2015. The link is: Taught by JQI Fellows Victor Galitski and Charles Clark, the course materials are linked to Galitski's 2013 Oxford University Press book, Exploring Quantum Mechanics . Some 84,000 students have enrolled in the first three editions of EQP, which were presented in 2013 and 2014.

EQP is designed to provide a proxy for learning quantum physics as it is taught at the University of Maryland at the advanced undergraduate/beginning graduate levels. Some of its homework and exam questions are adapted from examples in the University of Maryland Ph.D. Qualifier Exams.

"Our course is presented at an advanced undergraduate level," said Clark, "requiring some proficiency in calculus and linear algebra." It includes exercises on gauge potentials, the Dirac equation, and frontier research subjects such as topological states of matter and ultracold atoms. The fourth edition will include new material on quantum games and quantum cryptography. Yet even some high-school students have been able to complete the eight-week course.

"We don't have any information at the outset about who our students are," said Clark.  "Enrollment is free, world-wide, and the only information required of students is an email address, which could be associated with gmail or anything.”  There is a voluntary entrance survey that has had responses from several thousand students, and who represent over 130 different countries.

“I didn’t know there were that many countries,” said Clark.  “Our understanding of who is involved really comes from the student forums, which are remarkably vibrant and active. There is a strong social component of learning in our MOOC, with many questions posted by students.