Alan J. Goldman

March 2, 1932 – February 13, 2010

Brief Biography

Raised within walking distance of the Coney Island amusement district in Brooklyn, Alan J. Goldman made significant contributions to public sector operations research and transportation science. He was a successful student in high school, showing an interest in a wide variety of activities including the school’s chess club, basketball, and handball. He graduated first in his class and received a number of scholarships. Goldman received his bachelors degree from Brooklyn College in 1952 prior to pursuing graduate study at Princeton University. There, he worked under Ralph Hartzler Fox and wrote his dissertation on a Cech theory of fundamental groups and covering spaces. At Princeton, Goldman was influenced by the contemporaneous works of David Gale, Harold Kuhn, and Albert W. Tucker.

Looking for an applied mathematics outlet, Goldman joined the National Bureau of Standards in Washington. In 1956, he was asked to lead a new Operations Research Section in the organization’s Mathematics Division. In this capacity, he worked with a number of government agencies, including the United State Postal Service. Goldman attracted bright and promising staffers, including George Nemhauser and John von Neumann Theory Prize-winner Jack Edmonds, who, under his tutelage, went on to make their own important contributions to operations research. In 1976, the U. S. Department of Commerce awarded Goldman the Gold Medal for his career contributions at NBS.

Goldman’s research in public sector operations research largely dealt with the location of public facilities including post offices, fire departments, and other urban services. In transportation, he and his section dealt with a wide arrange of airline issues that include runway capacity and the viability of new aircraft. A portion of his work crossed into the military sector as he was responsible for new contributions to antimissile defense and arms control modelling.

Goldman was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 1989 for his developments and outstanding leadership in the field. He was also the fifth recipient of the Philip McCord Morse Lectureship Award.

In 1979, Goldman joined the faculty of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. There, he was a dedicated educator and researcher, graduating thirteen PhD students and providing valuable feedback to his colleagues. Goldman was known for his warm demeanor, frequently closing his conversations and e-mails with a simple “Peace”. When he retired from 1999, his colleagues and students threw “Goldmanfest” in his tribute, where he was lauded for having influenced generations of operations researchers and having published over one hundred papers. He continued to teach in a limited capacity prior to passing award in February 2010. 

Other Biographies

Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering. Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics Lecture Series: Alan Goldman Lecture Series. Accessed June 9, 2015. (link)

Naiman D. Q. & Witzgall C. (2013) Alan J. Goldman. in Memorial Tributes Volume 17, 122-126. National Academies Press: Washington, DC. (link)


Brooklyn College, BA 1952

Princeton  University, MA 1956

Princeton University, PhD 1957 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations
Non-Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas


Lattes A. (2010) Remembering Alan J. Goldman. Johns Hopkins Engineering Fall Magazine. (link)

The JHU Gazette (2010) Alan J. Goldman, 77, expert in operations research. Published March 1, 2010. Accessed July 10, 2018. (link)

Awards and Honors

U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal 1976

National Academy of Engineering 1989

Philip McCord Morse Lectureship 1995

Selected Publications

Goldman A. J. (1956) Resolution and separation theorems for polyhedral convex sets. Kuhn H. W. & Tucker A. W., eds. in Linear Inequalities and Related Systems. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.

Goldman A. J. & Tucker A. W. (1956) Theory of linear programming. Kuhn H. W. & Tucker A. W., eds. in Linear Inequalities and Related Systems. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.

Goldman A. J. (1959) Information flow and worker productivity. Management Science, 5(3): 270-278.

Goldman A. J. & Moon D. (1989) Tree network location problems with minimum seperations. IIE Transactions, 21(3): 230-240.