Published on

Q&A with Dave Goldberg

Professor and director of the undergraduate physics program

My name is Dave Goldberg.  I'm a professor and director of the undergraduate physics program at Drexel University.  I work primarily in theoretical and observational cosmology, especially in gravitational lensing of massive clusters of galaxies.  I also do a lot of popular writing.  I've written two well-received books so far, along with dozens of popular articles at io9, slate, the LA Times and Wired.com. I try to focus on educating the public, rather than advancing my own speculative ideas, and use a geeky, playful tone to do so.

Tools

I work almost exclusively on papers and whiteboards, and on computers.  Also the hardware inside my skull.

Software

For my scholarly work, I end up writing a lot of my own software, primarily in C++ and Python. Much of what I do is focused on analyzing and visualizing data using novel methods, which means that there aren't already existing programs to do what I want.

Dream setup

Do you mean in a physical, or in a more general sense?  In a physical sense, I have it. I simply need a fast computer, my grad students nearby, and plenty of markers to work out ideas.  I have a pretty good setup in a broader sense as well. My academic work gives me plenty of access to bright, curious students, the freedom to work on books and other outreach projects, and the opportunity to develop new and interesting classes (which, in turn, lets me remain a perpetual student).

Inspiration

The universe isn't self-evident enough an inspiration?