(at HDS 1957-1964) Professor of Physics at New College Oxford and once Tutor for Admissions at Oxford University.  Inventor of the “Focussing Lens.


Professor Joshua D Silver is a UK physicist whose discoveries have included a new way to change the curvature of lenses, with significant application for the low-cost manufacture of corrective lenses.


In 2007 he was leading a group of researchers in the Department of Atomic and Laser Physics at the University of Oxford.


Professor Silver is currently the director of the Centre for Vision in the Developing World at the University of Oxford, working to research the scope of and potential solutions to the problems of refractive error and low vision in the developing world.

While studying mirrors, Silver discovered a new way to change the curvature of lenses. He applied this to create a new form of liquid-filled corrective lens, that could be easily adjusted by the wearer to correct the vision of over 90% of people requiring correction. This is particularly useful for people in developing countries where specially trained optometrists are not available. In 1996 he formed a company, Adaptive Eyecare, to develop these adaptive ophthalmic lenses in partnership with the UK Government’s Department for International Development, for distribution in developing countries.The company has developed prototype adaptive spectacles that can correct both far-sighted and near-sighted people, and these spectacles have been trialled in several countries in Africa and Asia. So far 30,000 of Silver’s lenses have been distributed in 15 countries.

Professor Silver Demonstrates the World’s truly Universal Spectacle


In 2007 his research focused on using spectroscopy to understand the physics of highly charged ions (produced using the university’s electron beam ion trap (EBIT)). This research has application in understanding extreme plasma environments such as fusion tokamaks and stellar atmospheres.