Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

A Certain Uncertainty
Nature's Random Ways


  • Date Published: July 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107032811

£ 67.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Based around a series of real-life scenarios, this engaging introduction to statistical reasoning will teach you how to apply powerful statistical, qualitative and probabilistic tools in a technical context. From analysis of electricity bills, baseball statistics, and stock market fluctuations, through to profound questions about physics of fermions and bosons, decaying nuclei, and climate change, each chapter introduces relevant physical, statistical and mathematical principles step-by-step in an engaging narrative style, helping to develop practical proficiency in the use of probability and statistical reasoning. With numerous illustrations making it easy to focus on the most important information, this insightful book is perfect for students and researchers of any discipline interested in the interwoven tapestry of probability, statistics, and physics.

    • Abstract mathematical and physical topics are presented in the context of real-world physical problems, making it easier to understand – and remember – key techniques
    • Common pitfalls in statistical reasoning are identified, along with ways to avoid them
    • Step-by-step instructions and ample mathematical and scientific background make this a perfect tool for self-study
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'For physicists, it has long been integral to our science to ascribe an uncertainty to every data point, to every inference, to every theory. That is, a measurement is regarded as meaningless without assigning an 'error bar' to it. This delightful book by Mark Silverman shows the reader how a physicist does this with the 'tools of his trade'; namely mathematical analysis, starting with Bayes' theorem, Poissonian and Gaussian statistics, and progressing through Shannon's information formulation of entropy. This book is mathematically complete, but not intense, making it intellectually stimulating, with conclusions that are sometimes surprising. I recommend it with considerable enthusiasm.' Samuel A. Werner, University of Missouri

    'A Certain Uncertainty is a 'case study' approach that gives insight in the proper use of statistics through truly interesting physics. This is a book you will read, enjoy, and keep.' James P. McClymer, University of Maine

    'Mark Silverman brings together his wide-ranging expertise to discuss in a unified way the role of probability, statistics, and randomness in all aspects of our understanding of the physical universe. The topics discussed are not only in the basic areas of physics, but also include topics such as air-traffic safety, climate change, and the stock market. As in his previous books, his style is lucid and engaging. A Certain Uncertainty is self-contained with an introductory chapter that includes all of the tools of statistics and probability that are needed for a complete understanding of the material covered in subsequent chapters. Due to its comprehensive and highly informative nature, [this book] is a worthy addition to the bookshelf of any physicist.' Ronald L. Mallett, University of Connecticut

    '… this is a great book. … I particularly like the way statistics and physics are interwoven. The notation is clean and comprehensible … and not obfuscated by a lot of the pretentious notation that has contaminated many more recent books. Although it is not designed as a text, it is definitely going on my recommended reading list.' David J. Thomson, American Journal of Physics

    'I really believe that this book would be of interest to a broad public, including students, professors and researchers with a clear interest in randomness, chance, and uncertainty. Furthermore, it provides a very different perspective to statistical physics beyond the standard one …' Miguel A. F. Sanjuan, Contemporary Physics

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107032811
    • length: 633 pages
    • dimensions: 252 x 178 x 30 mm
    • weight: 1.36kg
    • contains: 60 b/w illus. 62 colour illus. 57 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Tools of the trade
    2. The 'fundamental problem' of a practical physicist
    3. Mother of all randomness I: the random disintegration of matter
    4. Mother of all randomness II: the random creation of light
    5. A certain uncertainty
    6. Doing the numbers: nuclear physics and the stock market
    7. On target: uncertainties of projectile flight
    8. The guesses of groups
    9. The random flow of energy I: power to the people
    10. The random flow of energy II: warning from the weather underground

  • Resources for

    A Certain Uncertainty

    Mark P. Silverman

    General Resources

    Find resources associated with this title

    Type Name Unlocked * Format Size

    Showing of

    Back to top

    This title is supported by one or more locked resources. Access to locked resources is granted exclusively by Cambridge University Press to lecturers whose faculty status has been verified. To gain access to locked resources, lecturers should sign in to or register for a Cambridge user account.

    Please use locked resources responsibly and exercise your professional discretion when choosing how you share these materials with your students. Other lecturers may wish to use locked resources for assessment purposes and their usefulness is undermined when the source files (for example, solution manuals or test banks) are shared online or via social networks.

    Supplementary resources are subject to copyright. Lecturers are permitted to view, print or download these resources for use in their teaching, but may not change them or use them for commercial gain.

    If you are having problems accessing these resources please contact

  • Author

    Mark P. Silverman, Trinity College, Connecticut
    Mark P. Silverman is the G. A. Jarvis Professor of Physics at Trinity College, Connecticut. He received his PhD in Chemical Physics from Harvard University, and has since pursued a wide range of experimental and theoretical studies concerning the structure of matter, the behavior of light, and the dynamics of stars and galaxies.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.