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 »

Newly Published

Fragmentation of Explosively Metastable Glass

Physica Scripta 85 (2012) 065403 - doi:10.1088/0031-8949/85/06/065403

Fragmentation of Explosively Metastable Glass

Here is a system that combines optics, statistics, science, and fractals: An unusual form of glass with bulbous head and thin tail, known as Rupert's drops, can withstand high impact or pressure applied to the head, but explodes instantly into small particles when the tail is broken. The exact mechanism is not well understood. To examine this, a statistical study was made of the fragments from numerous explosions, and the outcome revealed some surprising characteristics. The drops, which are highly stressed before exploding, show beautiful interference colours when placed between crossed polarisers. More papers »

Recent Work

Test of Quantum Physics

Decays vs Time Do radioactive nuclei decay non-randomly? Comprehensive study of radioactive sodium finds that unstable nuclei do just what quantum physics predicts. See: M P Silverman and W Strange, "Search for Correlated Fluctuations in the beta+ decay of Sodium-22", Europhysics Letters 87 (2009) 32001.


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 (coherence, interference, fluctuations, spin & statistics, entanglement, nonlocal magnetic interactions).
  • New directions in electron microscopy and interferometry.
  • Tests of quantum processes (e.g. nuclear decay) for randomness.
  • Seeing through turbid media using polarised light.
  • The amplification of light by means of reflection.
  • The interaction of light with chiral (i.e. left-right asymmetric) media.
  • Symmetry, gravity, and the nature of dark matter.
  • Quantum stabilisation of stellar black holes.
  • Causes and consequences of global climate change.
  • Testing a radical hypothesis concerning the collective intelligence of groups.
  • Self-directed learning: a heretical experiment in the teaching of physics.


And Yet It Moves More Than One Mystery Waves and Grains Probing The Atom A Universe of Atoms Quantum Superposition