Welcome to the web site of Dr. Mark P. Silverman, Jarvis Professor of Physics
at Trinity College. I am a physicist whose scientific interests and
contributions fall broadly in the areas of quantum physics, atomic &
nuclear physics, optics & electromagnetism, and gravitation. I am also
a teacher who has developed humane and effective educational methods for
teaching science at all levels of instruction. At this site you can find
books and papers in which I discuss my scientific research and
educational experiments. More about me »
“The science teacher whose instruction goes no further than the textbook, whose notes have yellowed with age from unvarying use, and whose concept of scientific experience is ritualised repetition of procedure cannot hope to motivate and inspire students. Teachers must, themselves, be motivated and inspired: to read avidly and regularly in order to learn lessons of the past and keep abreast of the present; to experiment and tinker in order to teach with confidence based on personal experience; to try in all ways possible to make the science classroom reflect accurately the attributes and activities of a place where real science is done.”
—M P Silverman, Motivating Students to Learn Science, Creative Education (2015) 6
2nd Edition (April 2015) Cambridge University Press - ISBN-13: 978-0521446310
This book of essays, recently released as a second edition, is a largely nonmathematical account of some of the strange behaviour, both classical and quantum, exhibited by diverse physical systems. Drawn from the author's wide-ranging researches in quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, electromagnetism and optics, gravity, thermodynamics, and the physics of fluids, the essays describe different physical systems whose behaviour provokes surprise and challenges the imagination. Read more »
Cambridge University Press 2014 - ISBN-13: 978-1107032811
This book examines randomness, chance, and uncertainty in matters pertaining to fundamental questions of physics as well as to issues that are likely to affect readers in personal ways. Among the topics discussed are controversial issues concerning the decay of radioactive nuclei, predictability of the stock market, safety of commercial aircraft, accelerating rise in Earth’s temperature, interpretation of medical tests, detection of drug use to enhance athletic performance, and more. The book helps develop proficiency in the use of probability and statistics to understand a multiplicity of physical processes. Read more »
Crowdsourcing is a method of sampling by submitting a problem to a large number of diverse, independent, non-experts (the "crowd"). The underlying idea is that a crowd can collectively arrive at a better solution than a small group of experts. This is not a mathematical theorem, but a hypothesis to be tested. In these papers I analyse a crowdsourcing experiment to study the distribution, information content, and reliability of a crowd's response.
Part I: M P Silverman, "Crowdsourced Sampling of a Composite Random Variable: Analysis, Simulation, and Experimental Test", Open Journal of Statistics 9 (2019) 494-529.
Part II: M P Silverman, "Extraction of Information from Crowdsourcing: Experimental Test Employing Bayesian, Maximum Likelihood, and Maximum Entropy Methods", Open Journal of Statistics 9 (2019) 571-600.
Randomization of a Deck of Playing Cards
Forces on a Ladder
Test of Elastica Theory
Brownian Motion of Radioactive Particles
Brownian Motion of Decaying Particles
Residence Time of Radon in an Open Volume
Search for Anomalies in the Decay of Mn-54
New Method to Measure Indoor Radon Concentration
Search for Non-Standard Radioactive Decay
I am available for lecturing on a variety of topics related to my
research of which the following are some examples. Also, see Lectures
for more details.
- The strange behaviour of quantum particles
- New directions in electron microscopy and interferometry
- Do radioactive nuclei decay randomly?
- Seeing through turbid media with polarised light
- Quantum stabilisation of stellar black holes
- Crowdsourcing: A radical approach to problem solving
- A warning from the weather under ground: Solar energy diffusion and urban heat stress
- The Ladder Problem: Physics in the Service of Safety and Justice