Academics and Research

Retired scientist’s influential work earns international recognition

Aaron Goldman, professor emeritus in the physics department at the University of Denver, was recognized on Thomson Reuters’ 2014 list of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.”

Goldman was one of 187 scientists in the engineering field worldwide to be recognized for writing papers between 2002 and 2012 that were cited most often by other researchers. Goldman also received a separate award for ranking among the top 1 percent of researchers for most cited documents in their specific field.

“In the last decade, Dr. Goldman was named by several sources of scientific information as one of the most highly cited authors in his discipline,” says Andrei Kutateladze, dean of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “His seminal contributions to quantitative analysis of infrared and ultraviolet absorption of solar radiation by the Earth’s atmosphere laid the foundation for accurate quantitative models that are critical to scientific understanding of such complex current challenges as global warming and climate change.”

A physics professor at the University of Denver from 1966 to 2009, Goldman has authored or co-authored more than 300 papers on quantitative spectroscopy, the results of which are used in many systems in atmospheric, planetary, solar and astrophysical studies. In 1998 he was named a John Evans Professor, the highest honor the University bestows on a faculty member. It is awarded to scholars who have attained international distinction for their research and whose achievements have significantly affected their field.

“Five years into retirement, I am very proud that my work over many years is receiving wide recognition from the scientific community,” Goldman says. “I greatly appreciate the research opportunities provided to me by the atmospheric spectroscopy group at DU, which led to fruitful collaborations with many national and international groups.”

In 1966, Goldman joined as a post-doc an atmospheric research group at DU under Professor David Murcray. Using balloon-borne infrared solar spectrometers, the faculty-and-student team conducted pioneering atmospheric research that was later used by modelers to study and predict atmospheric changes, including climate change and the hole in the ozone layer. Funding came, in part, from the Air Force and NASA.

The studies continued for many years with more advanced spectrometers and analysis methods, funded mostly by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

“The software and the databases we developed are now used worldwide for ground-based, airborne and satellite-borne systems, and many graduate students have earned their degrees using these methods,” Goldman says.

Kutateladze says that Goldman and his colleagues put the University’s atmospheric physics group on the map as a major player in the field and gave students valuable hands-on experience in atmospheric spectroscopy.

“A large number of DU undergraduate and graduate students greatly benefited from their direct involvement in research on these academically challenging issues, which are so important to society,” Kutateladze adds. “Dr. Goldman is a great example of a long-standing tradition of faculty teacher-scholars who excel in research and who train and mentor their students as they work on solving the real world’s problems.”

Goldman retired in 2009 as emeritus professor of physics and as an affiliate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., where he collaborated for many years with the atmospheric chemistry division.




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