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Paul Goldsmith

Photo of Paul Goldsmith


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 180-703

Pasadena, CA 91109





Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Structure of the Universe

Group Supervisor


Dr. Paul Goldsmith is the Group Supervisor for 3266 – Structure of the Universe. His recent work has focused on observations of far-infrared fine structure lines to determine the complete structure of molecular clouds associated with star formation. He has also worked on determining time scales of cloud formation by using atomic hydrogen in molecular clouds as a tracer of their evolution and history. He has also been studying the impact of star formation on surrounding molecular cloud material via changes in abundance, heating of dust, shock waves, and other processes. He is actively involved in the development of technology for high resolution submillimeter and far-infrared spectroscopy.


  • A.B, Physics, University of California, Berkeley (1969)
  • Ph.D, Physics, University of California, Berkeley (1975)

Professional Experience

  • Supervisor, Group 3266 - Structure of the Universe (2015-Present)
  • Adjunct Professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona, Tucson (2009-Present)
  • Chief Technologist, Astronomy and Physics Directorate, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2008-2015)
  • Senior Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2006-Present)
  • Visiting Associate, Department of Astronomy, Calif. Inst. Technology, Pasadena
  • Supervisor, Group 3266, Evolution of Galaxies (2006-2008)
  • Principal Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Calif. Inst. Technology, Pasadena (2005-2006)
  • Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, Cornell University (2005-Present)
  • Professeur Invité, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France (2000, 2001, 2004)
  • James Weeks Professor in the Physical Sciences, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University (1999-2005)
  • Director, National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (1993-2002)
  • Professor, Department of Astronomy, Cornell University (1993-2005)
  • Professor, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst (1986-1992)
  • Vice President of Research and Development, Millitech Corporation (1982-1992)
  • Associate Director, Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory (1980-1992)

Research Interests

Dr. Goldsmith's areas of interest in astronomy include unraveling the structure of molecular clouds and understanding how star formation occurs within them. This has led to developing techniques for probing the densities, temperatures, and other physical conditions in these regions. In addition to carrying out ground-based and airborne observations, he was a co-investigator with the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS), studying water, atomic carbon, molecular oxygen, and carbon monoxide. Goldsmith was the PI on the Herschel Oxygen Project, which has made the first multi-transition detection of this species in interstellar space. Goldsmith is working with colleagues at JPL interpreting data from the fine structure line of ionized carbon. He has been involved in modeling the collisional excitation and radiative transfer of the 158 μm [CII] line. The first extensive velocity - resolved spectra of this important coolant of interstellar clouds have been obtained with the HIFI instrument on Herschel. Observations using the GREAT instrument on SOFIA are continuing. He is also pursuing large-scale surveys of the structure lines with GUSTO and ASTHROS balloon missions. Goldsmith has an ongoing interest in astronomical instrumentation, especially high-sensitivity systems at centimeter to submillimeter wavelengths. He has also been actively involved in development of focal plane array receivers for radio and submillimeter telescopes. He has worked on the optical design of multiobject spectrometer systems for the CCAT telescope and has participated in a number of proposals for array receivers for submillimeter fine structure lines on balloons and SOFIA.

Selected Awards

  • Edward Stone Award for Outstanding Research Publication (2012)
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2012)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (2010)
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal (2010)
  • James Weeks Professor in the Physical Sciences, Cornell University (1999)
  • IEEE Microwave Theory & Techniques Society - Distinguished Lecturer (1992)
  • Fellow, Insitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1991)

Selected Publications

  1. "Molecular Depletion and Thermal Balance in Dark Cloud Cores," Goldsmith, P.F. , & Langer, W.D. 2001, ApJ, 557, 736.
  2. "Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite and Arecibo Observations of H2O and OH in a Diffuse Cloud Along the Line of Sight to W51," Neufeld, D.A., Kaufman, M.J., Goldsmith, P.F. , Hollenbach, D.J., & Plume, R. 2002, ApJ, 580, 278.
  3. "Radio Telescopes and Measurements at Radio Wavelengths," Goldsmith, P.F., ASP Conf. Series Vol. 278, Proc. Conf. Single Dish Radio Astronomy Techniques and Applications, S. Stanimirovic, D.R. Altschuler, P.F. Goldsmith, & C.J. Salter eds. San Francisco: ASP, 45, 2002.
  4. "HI Narrow Self-Absorption in Dark Clouds: Correlations with Molecular Gas and Implications for Cloud Evolution and Star Formation," Goldsmith, P.F. & Li, D.2005, ApJ, 622, 938.
  5. "Large-Scale Structure of the Molecular Gas in Taurus Revealed by High Linear Dynamic Range Spectral Line Mapping,' Goldsmith, P.F. , Heyer, M., Narayanan, G., Snell, R., Li, D., & Brunt, C., 2008, ApJ, 680, 428.
  6. "A Flexible Quasioptical Input System for a Submillimeter Multiobject Spectrometer," Goldsmith, P.F. & Seiffert, M. 2009, Publ. Astr. Soc. Pacific, 121, 375.
  7. "The Arecibo Methanol Maser Galactic Plane Survey. III. Distances and Luminosities," Pandian, J.D., Menten, K.M., & Goldsmith, P.F. 2009, ApJ, 706, 1609.
  8. A Survey of HI Narrow SelfAbsorption in Molecular Cores," Krco, M. & Goldsmith, P.F. 2010, ApJ, 724, 1402.
  9. Demonstration of a Room Temperature 2.48-2.75 THz Coherent Spectroscopy Source," Pearson, J.C., Drouin, B..J., Maestrini, A., Mehdi, I., Ward, J. Lin, R.H., Yu, S., Gill, J.J., Thomas, B., Lee, C., Chattopadhyay, G., Schlecht, E., Maiwald, F.W., Goldsmith, P.F., & Siegel, P. 2011, Rev. Sci. Instrum., 82, 093105.
  10. Herschel Measurements of Molecular Oxygen in Orion,'' Goldsmith, P.F., Liseau, R., Bell, T.A., et al.
  11. The Magnetic Field in Taurus Probed by Infrared Polarization,'' Chapman, N.L., Goldsmith, P.F., Pineda, J.L., Clemens, D.P., Li, D., & Krco, M. 2011, ApJ, 741, 21.
  12. Collisional Excitation of the [CII] Fine Structure Transition in Interstellar Clouds," Goldsmith, P.F. , Langer, W.D., Pineda, J.L., & Velusamy, T. 2012, ApJS 203, 13.
  13. Water Absorption in Galactic Translucent clouds: Conditions and History of the Gas Derived from {it Herschel}/HIFI PRISMAS Observations," Flagey, N., Goldsmith, P.F., Lis, D.C., Gerin, M., Neufeld, D., Sonnentrucker, P., De Luca, M., Godard, B., Goicoechea, J.R., Monje, R., & Phillips, T.G. 2012, ApJ, 762, 11.
  14. Korean VLBI Network Receiver Optics for Simultaneous Multifrequency Observations: Evaluation," Han, S., Lee, J., Kang, J., Oh, C., Byun, D., Je., Chung, M., Wi, S., Song, M., Kang, Y., Lee, S., Kim, S., Sasao, T., Goldsmith P.F., & Wylde, R. 2013, PASP, 125, 139.
  15. A Herschel [CII] Galactic Plane Survey I. The Global Distribution of ISM Gas Components," Pineda, J.L., Langer, W.D., Velusamy, T., & Goldsmith, P.F. 2013, Astron. Astrophys., 554, A103.
  16. Diffuse Molecular Cloud Densities From UV Measurements of CO Absorption," Goldsmith, P.F. 2013, ApJ, 774, 134.
  17. Low Virial Parameters in Molecular Clouds: Implications for High-Mass Star Formation and Magnetic Fields," Kauffmann, J.K, Pilai, T., & Goldsmith, P.F. 2013, ApJ, 779, 185.
  18. C+ In the Interstellar Medium: Collisional Excitation by H2 Revisited," Wiesenfeld, L. & Goldsmith, P.F. 2014, ApJ, 780, 183.
  19. A Herschel [CII] Galactic Plane Survey II. CO-Dark H2 in Clouds," Langer, W.D., Velusamy, T., Pineda, J.L., Willacy, K., & Goldsmith, P.F. 2014, Astron. Astrophys., 561, A122.