UConn Physics Colloquium
Physics Department, Trinity College, Hartford, CT
A recent best-selling book argues for the provocative idea that "...groups of (ordinary) people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant" with respect to such matters as prediction, problem solving, decision making, and other cognitive activities. If valid, the implications for how best to make wise economic, political, educational, judicial, scientific, technological, and military choices (among others) are far reaching. In this lecture I discuss a series of classroom experiments with a statistically significant group of students to examine the validity of the contention that the average response of the group is superior to the best results of individuals. Report of this work caught the attention of BBC One Show reporters who carried out, in consultation with me, a trial on a larger scale. Analysis of the Trinity and BBC data suggest a simple model for interpreting the pattern of a group response and assessing its predictive accuracy.
As a separate topic, Professor Silverman will also discuss his new book "Quantum Superposition: Counterintuitive Consequences of Coherence, Entanglement, and Interference." The UConn co-op will have books available for signing at the colloquium.