Photo of Maurice Goldhaber

Maurice Goldhaber

  • National Medal of Science
  • Physical Sciences

For his many contributions to all aspects of nuclear physics and more recently particle physics, and for the leadership he has provided the scientific community, as an administrator of science, as a shaper of scientific thought, and as a prolific source of stimulating ideas.

Maurice Goldhaber was destined for nuclear physics. The year Goldhaber was born, 1911, was also the year the atomic nucleus was discovered. His life would become intertwined with nuclear physics at a young age and the decades that followed would usher in a whole new age of understanding the world on the atomic level.

Goldhaber’s observations helped create a standard model of particle physics. His other studies delved into understanding neutrinos, nuclear decay, and the effect of x-rays on a nucleus.

Later in his career, he would become a remarkable leader in both teaching and administration. While serving as director of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, three Nobel prizes would be awarded to scientists under Goldhaber’s guidance.

At the laboratory, Goldhaber was generous with his insights and tenacious in finding explanations of phenomena. His guiding philosophy was to push boundaries and back worthy projects to their completion. He diligently worked into his 90’s proclaiming to colleagues “I don’t have time to age.”

By Melissa Ayala