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Michael B. Silevitch is the Robert D. Black Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University and an elected life fellow of the IEEE. His training has encompassed both physics and electrical engineering disciplines. An author or coauthor of over 65 journal papers, his research interests include laboratory and space plasma dynamics and nonlinear statistical mechanics.
He is the founder and initial director (2007–2009) of the Northeastern University Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, which was sparked by the need to enhance the dwindling number of engineers who can effectively lead major engineering projects from conception to completion.
He is also director of the Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems (Gordon-CenSSIS), a graduated National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC). Established in 2000, the center’s mission is to unify the methodology for finding hidden structures in diverse media such as the underground environment or the human body. This multidisciplinary ERC helped lay the foundation for the research and education programs in the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT). Established in 2008, the ALERT Center seeks to conduct transformational research, develop technology, and provide education and workforce development to improve the effective characterization, detection, mitigation, and response to explosives-related threats. In addition to his role as the director of ALERT, Silevitch also served on the NSF Engineering Directorate Advisory Committee (2010–2014).
In addition to plasma science and subsurface sensing and imaging research, Silevitch has worked on K–12 science and mathematics curriculum development and implementation to improve the education of young scientists and engineers. In 1987 he was the founder and, until 1996, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME), funded by grants from NSF and the Noyce Foundation. The center helped empower teacher leaders and developed mechanisms to implement exemplary K–12 mathematics and science curricula in inner city schools. He was also the principal investigator for two major grants from NSF that resulted in the implementation of these exemplary curricula in 500 New England school districts, and co-PI on the NSF-funded $20 million 10-year (1990–2000) Massachusetts Statewide Systemic Initiative–Project PALMS (Partnerships Advancing the Learning of Mathematics and Science). The PI of PALMS was the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education.
Other activities/hobbies include ham radio (call sign K1PEV) and service as the trustee of and advisor to the Northeastern University amateur radio club, W1KBN, the oldest club on campus (established ~1931), as well as long distance walking through the countryside and raising standard poodles. Currently another major activity is helping with his 3-year-old twin grandchildren.