Quantum billiards

Daniel Turner – Learning with Simulations (Quantum Billiards)


Professor Daniel Turner (Chemistry) conceived of a simulation that would provide his students  of Quantum Mechanics with opportunities to visualize subatomic objects and their behavior in an interactive environment. The underlying topic, electron correlation, is challenging for students to grasp due to its conceptual nature.

Learning objectives

  • Leverage interactivity to scaffold students’ understanding of a difficult STEM topic
  • Increase engagement as students learn challenging material
  • Provide hands-on experience with a theoretical topic

Created in partnership with NYU IT, the Quantum Billiards simulation is designed to teach electron correlation—an important but challenging concept taught in Quantum Mechanics. The game contrasts classical physics with quantum physics by allowing the user to play in both a classical mode, where balls occupy a definite point in space, and a quantum mode, where balls act as a wave of probability of where the ball is most likely to be found.

Student experience

  • Engage with simulation as an additional resource for learning about electron correlation

Technology resources


  • Students learn about electron correlation through hands on manipulation of simulation
  • Students increase engagement with a real world reference point (billiards)

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