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Cincinnati Gets the Gold

Assistant Professor Michael Goldberg comes to the math department from Johns Hopkins University.

Date: 9/21/2009
By: Kim Burdett
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Kim Burdett
New assistant professor Michael Goldberg has always been interested in patterns. As a kid, he was fascinated with the geysers at Yellowstone National Park and their semi-predictable eruptions. Weather patterns similarly held his interest, because they offer pattern, but also variation.

Michael Goldberg
'I think it's going to be a pretty great fit,' Goldberg says about coming to UC as a math professor.

With such an affinity for patterns and deviations, it’s no wonder Goldberg has made a career in math.

“I have always been fairly fascinated with mathematics,” Goldberg says. “I’ve always been reasonably good at playing with numbers and functions and other such things.”

The professor will begin teaching in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in McMicken College of Arts and Sciences this fall.

Goldberg comes to University of Cincinnati from Johns Hopkins University, where he has been an assistant professor since 2005. He earned a departmental excellence in teaching award while he was there and his research has regularly been funded by the National Science Foundation.

He was recently given a $133,640 grant from NSF for “Harmonic Analysis Methods Related to the Schrödinger Equation.” The Schrödinger equations look at basic laws of motion in quantum mechanics, and are the go-to mathematical models to describe chemical interactions or transmission of information along fiber-optic cables.

“On the math side of things, I’m looking at waves traveling at different speeds and directions,” Goldberg explains. “There are a couple of interesting engineering problems like this, such as telephone calls on a landline.

“If you’ve ever taken a long pipe and blown really hard on it, you’ll notice the other end doesn’t have the air come out in a nice, sharp pulse,” he says. “This is similar to what happens when waves drift apart. This is a problem for phone companies because they have to put repeater stations up just to make sure the sound is re-amplified into something audible.”

Goldberg hopes that coming to UC will help him further his research in ways that weren’t possible before. He wants to collaborate with fellow UC math professors, as well as experts at other universities in the Midwest.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty great fit,” he says.

Originally hailing from New Jersey, he received his PhD from University of California, Berkeley. His move to Cincinnati marks his first city with no ocean as a landmark—but at least he’ll be able to appreciate the different weather patterns that he enjoys so much, he says.

He adds with a laugh, “It’s nice to be in a part of the country where I can be exposed to weather trying to do all sorts of things to me.”

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