David Goodstein

David Goodstein

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David L. Goodstein is a U.S. physicist
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 and educator. From 1988 to 2007 he served as Vice-provost
Provost (education)
A provost is the senior academic administrator at many institutions of higher education in the United States, Canada and Australia, the equivalent of a pro-vice-chancellor at some institutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland....

 of the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

 (Caltech), where he is also a professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 of physics and applied physics
Applied physics
Applied physics is a general term for physics which is intended for a particular technological or practical use.It is usually considered as a bridge or a connection between "pure" physics and engineering....

, as well as (since 1995) the Frank J. Gilloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor.

Life and work

Goodstein was educated at Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College is a senior college of the City University of New York, located in Brooklyn, New York, United States.Established in 1930 by the New York City Board of Higher Education, the College had its beginnings as the Downtown Brooklyn branches of Hunter College and the City College of New...

Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

, 1960) and at the University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

, 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
The Mechanical Universe
The Mechanical Universe... And Beyond, is a 52-part telecourse filmed at the California Institute of Technology, and produced by Caltech and INTELECOM Intelligent Telecommunications . The series introduces university level physics, covering topics from Copernicus to quantum mechanics...

, 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.

In recent times, while continuing to teach and conduct research in experimental condensed matter physics
Condensed matter physics
Condensed matter physics deals with the physical properties of condensed phases of matter. These properties appear when a number of atoms at the supramolecular and macromolecular scale interact strongly and adhere to each other or are otherwise highly concentrated in a system. The most familiar...

, he has turned his attention to issues related to science and society. In articles and speeches, he has addressed conduct and misconduct in science
Scientific misconduct
Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in professional scientific research. A Lancet review on Handling of Scientific Misconduct in Scandinavian countries provides the following sample definitions: *Danish definition: "Intention or...

, and issues related to fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s and the climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 of Planet Earth. In 2004 he published a best-selling book Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil
Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil
Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil is a 2004 book written by David Goodstein. It describes peak oil and the future of civilization.-Synopsis:...


In 1999, Goodstein was awarded the Oersted Medal
Oersted Medal
The Oersted Medal recognizes notable contributions to the teaching of physics. Established in 1936, it is awarded by the American Association of Physics Teachers. The award is named for Hans Christian Ørsted. It is the Association's most prestigious award....

 of the American Association of Physics Teachers
American Association of Physics Teachers
The American Association of Physics Teachers was founded in 1930 for the purpose of "dissemination of knowledge of physics, particularly by way of teaching." There are more than 10,000 members that reside in over 30 countries. AAPT publications include two peer-reviewed journals, the American...

, and in 2000, the John P. McGovern Medal of the Sigma Xi
Sigma Xi
Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society is a non-profit honor society which was founded in 1886 at Cornell University by a junior faculty member and a handful of graduate students. Members elect others on the basis of their research achievements or potential...

 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
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the California Council on Science and Technology
California Council on Science and Technology
The California Council on Science and Technology is an independent, not-for-profit 501 organization designed to offer expert advice to the California state government and to recommend solutions to science and technology-related policy issues....


External links