David Goodstein

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David L. Goodstein
David Louis Goodstein

(1939-04-05) April 5, 1939 (age 80)
Alma materBrooklyn College
University of Washington
AwardsOersted Medal (2000)
John P. McGovern Medal
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, applied physics
InstitutionsCalifornia Institute of Technology

David Louis Goodstein (born April 5, 1939)[1] is an American physicist and educator. From 1988 to 2007 he served as Vice-provost of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he is also a professor of physics and applied physics, as well as (since 1995) the Frank J. Gilloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor.

Life and work[edit]

Goodstein was educated at Brooklyn College (BS, 1960) and at the University of Washington (Ph.D., 1965). He has written several books, including States of Matter (1975) (reprinted in a Dover paperback edition) and Feynman’s Lost Lecture (1996). In the 1980s he was the director and host of The Mechanical Universe, an educational television series on physics that has been adapted for high school use and translated into many other languages. The series has been broadcast on hundreds of public broadcasting stations and has garnered more than a dozen prestigious awards, including the 1987 Japan Prize for television.[2]

In recent times, while continuing to teach and conduct research in experimental condensed matter physics, he has turned his attention to issues related to science and society. In articles and speeches, he has addressed conduct and misconduct in science, and issues related to fossil fuels and the climate of Planet Earth. In 2004 he published a best-selling book Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil.

In 1999, Goodstein was awarded the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers, and in 2000, the John P. McGovern Medal of the Sigma Xi Society. He has served on and chaired numerous scientific and academic panels, including the National Advisory Committee to the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the California Council on Science and Technology.


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