Moise H. Goldstein, Jr.

With sadness, the MBL notes the passing of former MBL Society member Dr.  Moise H. Goldstein, Jr. The MBL flag will be lowered in his memory. An obituary written by his family is below.


moise-goldsteinMoise H. Goldstein, Jr., a respected biomedical engineer, and an important and beloved member of the Johns Hopkins University faculty and Woods Hole scientific community, died peacefully in Providence, Rhode Island on April 9, 2015. He was 88.

Dr. Goldstein’s scholarly research centered on the application of engineering to solve biological and medical problems. His contributions ranged from facilitating basic research to helping deaf children communicate with sound. In his earliest work, he was among the first scientists to apply computer technology to the study of the brain.

Johns Hopkins colleagues and students remember Dr. Goldstein for his mentorship, discipline and modesty. After receiving his ScD at MIT in the early sixties, he went on to be instrumental in the founding of the Biomedical Engineering Department on the JHU Homewood Campus. In 2011, a Johns Hopkins Engineering Magazine feature on ‘50 Years of Biomedical Engineering at Hopkins’ noted how Dr. Goldstein and Stanley Corrsin championed the nascent undergraduate program, one of the first of its kind in the nation.

Ben Yuhas, a former doctoral student and founder of Yuhas Data Science, wrote that Dr. Goldstein “was as much of a friend as a mentor. I could speak volumes on how he instilled in me his love of science, but his influence went well beyond my professional development. He, and wife, Phyllis, took me to my first major league baseball game….”

Dr. Murray Sachs, colleague and co-chair of Biomedical Engineering, wrote that “Goldstein founded the Neural Encoding Lab at Johns Hopkins, where he began the study of the Auditory Cortex…Goldstein’s most lasting contributions were the students whose careers were initiated in these programs.”

Dr. Goldstein took academic sabbaticals in Italy, Israel and England. He traveled to Nepal, Japan, and Europe, and spent family vacations in New Orleans, Texas and the Pacific Northwest.

Word of Dr. Goldstein’s death was announced by sons Claude Goldstein, Thomas Goldstein and step-son Brian Switzer. Switzer eulogized his stepfather as “A life-long scientist, sailor, poker-player…and a most kind soul.”

Dr. Goldstein was born in New Orleans in 1926, the son of prominent architect, Moise H. Goldstein Sr. (1882-1972) and Lois Goetter Goldstein. He attended The Newman School and Tulane University. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II, where he was trained as a Radar Technician, but spent the bulk of his service honing his post-war poker skills on Guam. He attended MIT for graduate studies in Electrical Engineering, eventually earning his ScD and a junior faculty position.

Dr. Goldstein had three children with his first wife, Janet Heller: Claude Goldstein of Providence, RI, Thomas Goldstein of Seattle, WA and Catherine Taflin, deceased. In 1970 he married Phyllis Dworkin Switzer, and adopted her son, Brian Switzer, of Woods Hole, MA. He is survived by his sister, Nell Stern and his grandchildren, Helena Taflin, Sophie Switzer and Elijah Switzer. His brother, Louis, passed away in 1998.

Dr. Goldstein spent the summers of his youth on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where fishing, boating and family time were cherished. Childhood antics included bringing an alligator onto the St. Charles Avenue streetcar and there liberating it. His sister Nell described him as a bright and sociable man with a fun and “mischievous side”. From his earliest years he cultivated and maintained a number of lifelong friendships. Dr. Goldstein, known to be mild-mannered on land, took on a more animated personality when skippering his various boats. He served as Woods Hole Yacht Club commodore.

Following the death of his beloved wife, Phyllis, in 2011, he moved to Providence, where his son, Claude, assisted him during his final years. There will be a memorial in Woods Hole in July.