Marvin Leonard Goldberger

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Marvin Leonard Goldberger
4th President of the California Institute of Technology
In office
Preceded by Harold Brown
Succeeded by Thomas Everhart
Personal details
Born (1922-10-22)October 22, 1922
Chicago, Illinois
Died November 26, 2014(2014-11-26) (aged 92)
La Jolla, California
Cause of death Cancer
Nationality United States
Other names Murph
Alma mater
Known for Crossing symmetry
Awards Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics (1961)
Scientific career
Fields Theoretical physics
Thesis The interaction of high energy neutrons with heavy nuclei (1948)
Doctoral advisor Enrico Fermi
Doctoral students Martin B. Einhorn (1968)

Marvin Leonard "Murph" Goldberger (October 22, 1922 – November 26, 2014) was a theoretical physicist and former president of the California Institute of Technology.[1][2]


Goldberger was born in Chicago, Illinois. He went on to receive his B.S. at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1948. His advisor on thesis, Interaction of High-Energy Neutrons with Heavy Nuclei, was Enrico Fermi.[3][4]

Goldberger was a professor of physics at Princeton University from 1957 through 1977. He received the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics in 1961,[5] and in 1963 was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In 1965 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[6] From 1978 through 1987 he served as president of Caltech. He was the Director of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1987 to 1991.[7] From 1991 to 1993 he was a professor of physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1993 until his death in November, 2014, he served on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego, first as a professor of physics and then as a professor emeritus. Goldberger also served as Dean of Natural Sciences for UC San Diego from 1994 to 1999.[2]

In 1954, he and Murray Gell-Mann introduced crossing symmetry.[8] In 1958, he and Sam Bard Treiman published the so-called Goldberger–Treiman relation.[9]

He was a participant in 1958's Project 137 and a member of JASON. He was involved in nuclear arms control efforts. He also advised a number of major corporations; for example he was on the board of directors of General Motors for 12 years.[10]

Several of his doctoral students were elected Fellows of the American Physical Society: Allan N. Kaufman in 1962, Cyrus D. Cantrell in 1980, and Martin B. Einhorn in 1991.[11] Goldberger died in 2014 in La Jolla, California. His wife Mildred Ginsburg Goldberger (1923–2006) was a mathematician and economist.[12] Upon his death he was survived by two sons and three grandchildren.[2]



  1. ^ "Marvin "Murph" Goldberger, Array of Contemporary American Physicists". American Institute of Physics. 
  2. ^ a b c Woo, Elaine (2014-11-28). "Marvin Goldberger dies at 92; physicist served as Caltech president". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 1, 2014. He left Caltech to become director of the Institute for Advanced Study, the Princeton, N.J., think tank that had been home to such luminaries as Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer. Goldberger held that post from 1987 to 1991, when he moved to UCLA to teach physics. He spent his last years at UC San Diego, where he was dean of the school of natural sciences from 1994 to 1999. 
  3. ^ "Marvin Leonard Goldberger". Mathematics Genealogy Project. Retrieved January 10, 2007. 
  4. ^ Goldberger, Marvin L. (1948). The interaction of high energy neutrons with heavy nuclei (Ph.D.). The University of Chicago. OCLC 44609154 – via ProQuest. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ "Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics". American Physical Society. Retrieved January 10, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Marvin L. Goldberger, past director". Institute for Advanced Study. 
  7. ^ DePalma, Anthony (1991-06-26). "For Scholarly Nirvana, Familiar Questions as Leaders Change". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2011. Dr. Goldberger, a former president of the California Institute of Technology, is a wry man who is able, despite his revered office (it belonged to J. Robert Oppenheimer from 1947 to 1966), to poke fun at himself. Given such an independent and strong-willed faculty, he said he sees the director's job as more that of pit crew than of car driver in this intellectual road race. 
  8. ^ Gell-Mann, M.; Goldberger, M. L. (1954). "The scattering of low-energy photons by particles of spin ½". Physical Review. 96: 1433–8. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.96.1433. 
  9. ^ Goldberger, Marvin L.; Treiman, S.B. (1958). "Decay of the π Meson". Physical Review. 110 (5): 1178. Bibcode:1958PhRv..110.1178G. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.110.1178. 
  10. ^ Aaserud, Finn (February 12, 1986). "Oral History Transcript — Dr. Marvin Goldberger". American Institute of Physics. 
  11. ^ "APS Fellowships". APS Physics. 
  12. ^ "Mildred (Ginsburg) Goldberger". Atomic Heritage Foundation. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Harold Brown
President of the California Institute of Technology
1978 – 1987
Succeeded by
Thomas Everhart