Martin Goldman was the valedictorian at Jamaica High School in 1956, which is saying a lot. We had 821 graduates and needed two graduation sessions.
Martin’s average of 97.484 was the second highest in the history of the school at the time. He was also president of the General Organization and was widely respected as both smart and genial, and he remains so today, as a physics professor at the University of Colorado.
Goldman is also a project scientist at the successful launch at Cape Canaveral Thursday.
From Kenneth Chang’s article in The New York Times on Thursday:
“A NASA mission called Magnetospheric Multiscale, scheduled to be launched Thursday night, aims to make the first detailed measurements of a region of colliding magnetic fields about 38,000 miles above Earth. The magnetic collisions, which can potentially disrupt satellites and power grids, are not well understood.”
It continued: “The protective bubble of the Earth’s magnetic field typically deflects high-speed particles from the sun. But an onslaught of particles from a solar explosion can pop the outer layers of the bubble.”
Asked to describe his role in the mission, Martin wrote in an e-mail: “I am the PI and Team leader for one of three Interdisciplinary Science Teams which each received a ten-year research grant from NASA seven years ago to do research in support of MMS. Our mission was to predict what MMS will measure by performing computer simulations of magnetic reconnection, by developing mathematical models to describe the physical processes and to study relevant results from existing spacecraft.”
Martin continued: “MMS is NASA's most complex mission ever. There are over 100 experiments on board each satellite. This kind of "robotic" exploration of space has a much greater scientific payoff than manned exploration of space (such as the space shuttle) and is much more cost effective. The MMS mission will reveal key energization processes triggered by the sun in Earth's magnetic field over many 10's of Earth radii.
“These processes occur explosively and can affect our power grid as well as expose astronauts and pilots to high levels of radiation. The same processes cause the auroral borealis at northern latitudes. We need to know how to predict when they will occur and how much energy will be released from Earth's magnetic fields. The physics that will be learned will be relevant to other venues in which magnetic reconnection occurs such as in astrophysical objects and in harnessing the fusion energy of hydrogen for sustainable energy production far into the future.”
Martin and Helen Goldman, who catch up with old friends on trips home to New York, were at the blastoff at 10:44 PM Thursday.
“It was a Hollywood launch,” Martin wrote. “I was just as thrilled as my 25 family members surrounding me at the lift. My 11-year-old niece Cella Sawyer expressed my feelings perfectly.” Cella wrote:
“THIS IS NOT THE SUN!!! It’s a rocket, and it seriously lit up the ENTIRE SKY!!! Like NO JOKE!!! It is also 11 PM – not the morning!!! This is probably the most AMAZING 5 minutes of my life!!! Thanks Uncle Marty and Congratulations!!!”
Congratulations from all of us, too, Martin and Helen.
* * *
The mission can be followed on NASA various sites:
Great assortment of photos:
Project Scientists (including Martin Goldman)
Launch Schedule for Cape Kennedy:
Tom Moore, a leader of this mission, was a student of Martin’s at Boulder:
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.