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Wilcox, Bethany R

Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Bethany Wilcox is a member of the Physics Education Research group. Her research interests include understanding and addressing students' difficulties utilizing sophisticated mathematical tools in physics problem solving. She is also interested in understanding how these difficulties change as students advance through the curriculum and encounter these mathematical tools in multiple contexts. She also works to develop validated assessments of student learning that can be used to measure the impact of curricular changes or compare student learning across courses and institutions. In particular, she is utilizing advanced testing theories to explore viable options for creating modular assessments that can address variations in content coverage in across courses. She has also investigated student experiences during remote instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is working to build educational resources and assessments in the area of Quantum Information Science.


  • Physics Education Research


selected publications


courses taught

  • PHYS 1230 - Light and Color for Nonscientists
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2024
    Discusses light, color, vision, and perception. Covers reflection, refraction, lenses, and applications to photography and other methods of light sensing. Other topics include lasers and holography. Course is geared toward nonscience majors. Department enforced prereq., high school algebra or equivalent. Should not be taken by students with a math MAPS deficiency.
  • PHYS 3220 - Quantum Mechanics 1
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023
    Introduces quantum mechanics with wave, operator and matrix computational techniques. Investigates solutions for harmonic oscillator, potential well and systems with angular momentum. Develops a quantitative description of one-electron atoms in lowest order.
  • PHYS 3310 - Principles of Electricity and Magnetism 1
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Spring 2020
    Covers mathematical theory of electricity and magnetism, including electrostatics, magnetostatics, and polarized media, and provides an introduction to electromagnetic fields, waves, and special relativity.
  • PHYS 4230 - Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021
    Statistical mechanics applied to macroscopic physical systems; statistical thermodynamics, classical thermodynamics systems; applications to simple systems. Examines relationship of statistical to thermodynamic points of view.
  • PHYS 4410 - Quantum Mechanics 2
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    Extends quantum mechanics to include perturbation theory and its applications to atomic fine structure, multi-particle systems, interactions with external forces, the periodic table and dynamical processes including electromagnetic transition rates.


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