Goodstein, Judith R. 1939- (Judith Ronnie Goodstein)

views updated

Goodstein, Judith R. 1939- (Judith Ronnie Goodstein)

PERSONAL:

Born July 8, 1939, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Sigmund and Fanny Koral; married David L. Goodstein, June 30, 1960; children: Marcia Barrie, Mark Alexander. Education: Brooklyn College, B.A., 1960; University of Washington, Ph.D., 1969.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Pasadena, CA Office—California Institute of Technology, 1201 E. California, Pasadena, CA 91125-0002. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, institute archivist, 1968-95, faculty associate, 1982—, lecturer, 1989, 2001, 2002, registrar, 1989-2003, university archivist, 1995—.

MEMBER:

History of Science Council; West Coast History of Science Society; Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Grants from Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1975, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), 1976-78, U.S. Geological Survey, 1980-84, and Haynes Foundation, 1980-86.

WRITINGS:

(With Alice Stone) Caltechs Throop Hall, Friends of Caltech Libraries (Pasadena, CA), 1981.

(Editor, with Carolyn Kopp) The Theodore Von Kármán Collection at the California Institute of Technology: Guide to the Original Collection and a Microfiche Edition, Institute Archives (Pasadena, CA), 1981.

(Editor, with Carol H. Bugé) The Frank J. Malina Collection at the California Institute of Technology: Guide to a Microfiche Edition, Institute Archives (Pasadena, CA), 1986.

Millikan's School: A History of the California Institute of Technology, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1991.

(With David L. Goodstein) Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets around the Sun, Norton (New York, NY), 1996.

The Volterra Chronicles: The Life and Times of an Extraordinary Mathematician, 1860-1940, American Mathematical Society (Providence, RI), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Archivist Judith R. Goodstein has spent her entire career at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Many of her books deal with materials associated with this institution. The Theodore Von Kármán Collection at the California Institute of Technology: Guide to the Original Collection and a Microfiche Edition and The Frank J. Malina Collection at the California Institute of Technology: Guide to a Microfiche Edition, present the papers of influential Caltech faculty members. Von Kármán, born in 1881, was an engineer and physicist who fled his native Hungary in 1930 to assume directorship of Caltech's Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory. His expertise in rocketry proved helpful to the allied military effort against the Nazi V-2 missile program. In 1944, Von Kármán and others founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Later that year, he retired from Caltech to act as special consultant to the military. In 1946, he became the first chair of the Scientific Advisory Group, which advised the U.S. Army Air Forces on new aeronautic technologies. Von Kármán's work led to a new understanding of fluid dynamics, which in turn revolutionized the design of jet aircraft.

Frank J. Malina, born in 1912, also was an engineer and studied at Caltech under Von Kármán. Malina became a founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, serving as the organization's first director. Malina's work focused on the development of sounding rockets, which are rockets that carry instruments to take measurements and perform scientific tests while in flight, and he developed the first sounding rocket to reach outer space. In 1947, he became secretary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and he became head of the organization's division of scientific research in 1951. Malina's later career was devoted to fine arts, particularly the development of kinetic sculpture, an art form comprised of moving pieces.

The work of another distinguished Caltech figure, Richard Feynman, is featured in Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets around the Sun, which Goodstein wrote with her husband, David L. Goodstein. The book includes the text of Feynman's lost lecture, as well as several chapters that provide explication and context. Feynman, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, was a charismatic teacher at Caltech who developed the theory of quantum electrodynamics and made significant contributions to particle theory, quantum computing, and nanotechnology. He was also known as a prankster and a popularizer of science. In a review of Feynman's Lost Lecture for American Scientist, William J. Thompson observed that its primary interest for most readers would be its "revelation of Feynman's mind at work [rather] than in his detailed explanations of geometric constructions." In addition to Feynman's lecture, the book outlines the history of mechanics, from Nicolaus Copernicus to Isaac Newton; gives an account of Feynman's personal life and career; and explains his proof of the law of ellipses. Judith and David L. Goodstein, Thompson wrote, "have rendered a valuable service by finding, editing and explaining a lecture by a master mind about a discovery that signa[l]ed a major conceptual breakthrough in physics."

In Millikan's School: A History of the California Institute of Technology, Goodstein chronicles the founding and growth of Caltech from its origins as Throop University in 1891 through its rise to promi- nence by 1945. "The presumption that Caltech is located somewhere near the center of the universe will undoubtedly limit the audience" for the book, wrote Tony Rothman in Science. Goodstein focuses primarily on the contributions of three significant individuals who pushed Caltech toward excellence: astronomer George Ellery Hale, chemist Alfred Noyes, and physicist Robert Millikan. Also mentioned are geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan, chemist Linus Pauling, and Von Kármán.

Goodstein ventures outside of Caltech's circle in The Volterra Chronicles: The Life and Times of an Extraordinary Mathematician, 1860-1940, her biography of Italian mathematician Vito Volterra. Born into an impoverished Jewish family in Ancona, Italy, Volterra was a gifted student in mathematics. He studied under mathematical physics professor Enrico Betti at the University of Pisa, where he was offered a full professorship at twenty-three years old. He worked on a theory of functionals, publishing a book on the subject in 1930. In 1892, Volterra became a professor at the University of Turin, and he became a professor at the University of Rome at La Sapienza in 1900. His later work focused on mathematical applications in biology. Volterra achieved moral renown when, in 1931, he was among only twelve Italian professors out of 1,250 who refused to take Dictator Benito Mussolini's mandatory oath of loyalty. Because of this action, Volterra was forced to resign his university post and scientific memberships.

P.N. Ruane, in a review of The Volterra Chronicles for Read This! MAA Online Book Review, felt that the book "provides empathic insights into [Volterra's] family life" and gives "a very vivid account of the rich nature of applied mathematics in Italy—and its connections with the most eminent European mathematicians of the day." While expressing a similar view in American Scientist, Brian Hayes commented that the book is less satisfying in its discussion of Volterra's work. "We learn less about what made the mathematician extraordinary," wrote Hayes, because "most of the mathematics goes unexplained." Pointing out some instances of excellent mathematical discussion, Hayes stated: "More passages of this kind would have been welcome."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Scientist, March 1, 1997, William J. Thompson, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets around the Sun, p. 184; July 1, 2007, Brian Hayes, "A Mathematician's Trajectory," review of The Volterra Chronicles: The Life and Times of an Extraordinary Mathematician, 1860-1940, p. 362.

Antioch Review, September 22, 1996, Albert B. Stewart, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 490.

Booklist, April 15, 1996, Gilbert Taylor, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 1403.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, March 1, 1992, F. Potter, review of Millikan's School: A History of the California Institute of Technology, p. 1100; January 1, 2008, S.J. Colley, review of The Volterra Chronicles, p. 838.

Isis, March 1, 1993, Roger Geiger, review of Millikan's School, p. 170.

Library Journal, October 1, 1991, Arla Lindgren, review of Millikan's School, p. 118; May 1, 1996, James Olson, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 125.

Mathematical Intelligencer, June 22, 1998, Graham W. Griffiths, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 68; June 22, 1999, Robert Weinstock, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 71.

Mathematics Teacher, March 1, 2008, James N. Boyd, review of The Volterra Chronicles, p. 560.

Nature, April 16, 1992, Ed Regis, review of Millikan's School, p. 629; April 25, 1996, Paul Murdin, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 680; September 27, 2007, Salvatore Coen, "Ups and Downs of a Senator Scientist," review of The Volterra Chronicles, p. 406.

Physics Today, November 1, 1996, Alan E. Shapiro, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 81.

Publishers Weekly, August 16, 1991, review of Millikan's School, p. 42; March 11, 1996, review of Feynman's Lost Lecture, p. 49.

Science, November 22, 1991, Tony Rothman, review of Millikan's School, p. 1234.

Science Books & Films, November 1, 2007, Wilton T. Adams, review of The Volterra Chronicles, p. 256.

SciTech Book News, June 1, 2007, review of The Volterra Chronicles.

Technology and Culture, January 1, 1993, Rebecca S. Lowen, review of Millikan's School, p. 188.

ONLINE

California Institute of Technology Web site,http://www.caltech.edu/ (July 11, 2008), author profile.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Circuits and Systems Society Newsletter,http://cassnewsletter.org/ (July 18, 2008), Irwin W. Sandberg, review of The Volterra Chronicles.

Read This! MAA Online Book Review,http://enterprise.maa.org/ (July 11, 2008), P.N. Ruane, review of The Volterra Chronicles.

About this article

Goodstein, Judith R. 1939- (Judith Ronnie Goodstein)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article