Judith R. Goodstein

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Judith R. Goodstein
Born (1939-07-08) 8 July 1939 (age 80)
Alma materBrooklyn College
University of Washington
Scientific career
FieldsHistory of science
History of mathematics
Doctoral advisorThomas Hankins

Judith Ronnie Goodstein (née Koral, born 1939)[1] is an American historian of science, historian of mathematics, archivist, and book author. She worked for many years at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where she is University Archivist Emeritus.[2]

Education and career

Goodstein was born on July 8, 1939, in Brooklyn;[3] both of her parents were college-educated children of Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe, and worked for the city. She went to Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, but left at age 16 to escape its cliquish and competitive atmosphere, and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in history. Her interest in the history of science began at this time, with a graduate-level class she took from Carl Benjamin Boyer, as the only undergraduate in the class. Another faculty mentor at Brooklyn College was John Hope Franklin.[1]

She became a junior high school teacher in Borough Park, Brooklyn before applying with her fiancé, David Goodstein, to graduate schools (she in history, he in physics). On the suggestion of Boyer, she went to the University of Washington, where Harry Woolf was at the time. She was not admitted with financial aid, but Woolf hired her as an assistant. However, he soon moved to another university. She worked with a succession of other professors there, including one who promised to block her graduation because she refused to babysit his children, and successfully defended her Ph.D. in 1968. Her dissertation, Chemical Theory and the Nature of Matter, concerned chemist Humphry Davy, a topic suggested by Satish Kapoor, who also left Washington before she could finish. Her eventual doctoral advisor was Thomas Hankins.[1]

She and her husband moved to Caltech in 1966, where she worked as a teacher again while completing her dissertation, with a year in Rome for her husband's postdoctorate. She was hired as Institute Archivist by Daniel Kevles in 1968,[1] also teaching the history of science at California State University, Dominguez Hills from 1969 to 1973 and later at the University of California, Los Angeles.[1][4] She became University Archivist in 1995, and retired as University Archivist Emeritus in 2009. She has also worked at Caltech as a faculty associate and lecturer, and was registrar from 1989 to 2003.[2]


Goodstein is the author of:

  • Guide to the Robert Andrews Millikan Collection at the California Institute of Technology (with Albert F. Gunns, American Institute of Physics, 1975)[5]
  • The Frank J. Malina Collection at the California Institute of Technology: Guide to a Microfiche Edition (with Carol H. Bugé, California Institute of Technology, 1986)[6]
  • Millikan's School: A History of the California Institute of Technology (W.W. Norton, 1991)[7]
  • Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of the Planets around the Sun (with David Goodstein, W.W. Norton, 1996)[8]
  • The Volterra Chronicles: The Life and Times of an Extraordinary Mathematician, 1860–1940 (American Mathematical Society and London Mathematical Society, 2007)[9]
  • Einstein’s Italian Mathematicians: Ricci, Levi-Civita, and the Birth of General Relativity (American Mathematical Society, 2018)[10]

She also wrote the screenplays for two episodes of Caltech's television series The Mechanical Universe.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lippincott, Sara (2012), Interview with Judith R. Goodstein, California Institute of Technology Archives, retrieved 2018-11-10
  2. ^ a b "Judith R. Goodstein", Faculty directory, California Institute of Technology, retrieved 2018-11-10
  3. ^ "Goodstein, Judith R. 1939– (Judith Ronnie Goodstein)", Gale Contemporary Authors, 2009, retrieved 2018-11-10
  4. ^ a b The Archivist: Judith R. Goodstein, California Institute of Technology, retrieved 2018-11-10
  5. ^ Reviews of Guide to the Robert Andrews Millikan Collection:
  6. ^ Review of The Frank J. Malina Collection:
  7. ^ Reviews of Millikan's School:
  8. ^ Reviews of Feynman's Lost Lecture:
  9. ^ Reviews of The Volterra Chronicles:
  10. ^ Review of Einstein’s Italian Mathematicians:
    • Stenger, Allen (November 2018), "Review", MAA Reviews

External links