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An understanding of wave mechanics is essential to making the leap from classical to quantum systems. Wavemaker is a simulation environment developed to reveal graphically the behavior of periodic systems using a series of increasingly sophisticated visualization tools. Individual particles in a many-particle system can be instrumented for study of kinematic behavior. Parametric representations reveal time-independent behaviors. Problems dealing with propagation, reflection, and Fourier synthesis are easily studied. Use with students has revealed that many students have preconceptions about the behavior of waves and that use of this software is helpful in connecting real to simulated systems, separating holistic behaviors from those of individual elements, identifying critical parameters, and making connections between variables that are used to describe and measure periodic systems.
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