Academic Team

The Mechanical Universe

In establishing the format and approach to the production of The Mechanical Universe, a number of problems were met and solved. Perhaps the most difficult was putting together a team of academic and production people capable of handling material at the very high level the project demanded. The team that was assembled was extraordinary. Not only did they represent the highest order of intellectual, technical, and production talent, they had also learned to work together with a remarkable spirit of mutual admiration, respect, and cooperation.

David Goodstein, Creator, Host and Project Director, is Vice Provost and Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Caltech, where he teaches, writes, and conducts scientific research. He is the author of more than 100 scientific works and is co-author of the recent book Feynman's Lost Lecture.

Dr. Goodstein is a popular lecturer and is often called upon as an informal ombudsman on the topics of educational video production and the importance of providing high-quality instructional materials in the scientific education of today's students. Despite his myriad duties and responsibilities, Dr. Goodstein nevertheless thinks of himself primarily as a teacher.

Richard Olenick, Associate Project Director, is Professor of Physics at the University of Dallas. He received his doctorate in elementary particle physics from Purdue University. His primary research interests are magnetic cooperative systems and multidimensional universes. As a Visiting Associate at Caltech, he served as Associate Project Director of The Mechanical Universe, and is the primary author of the introductory textbooks that accompany the course.

Dr. Olenick has appeared on public radio and cable television; his articles have been published in The American Journal of Physics, The European Journal of Physics, and The Journal of Applied Physics. He is currently the Principal Investigator of the Comprehensive Conceptual Curriculum for Physics (C3P) project based at the University of Dallas.

Tom Apostol, Academic Content, brought 40 years of teaching experience and preeminence in the field of mathematics to The Mechanical Universe project. The Utah-born educator received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1948, and taught at Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before coming to Caltech, where he is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Director of Project MATHEMATICS!, a series of computer animated videotapes on basic topics in high school mathematics.

Dr. Apostol is the author of several highly regarded textbooks: Mathematical Analysis; Calculus, Volumes I and II; Introduction to Analytic Number Theory and Modular Functions and Dirichlet Series in Number Theory. He is a member of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society.

Steven Frautschi, Academic Content, has had an international career as a physicist and educator, from Kyoto University, Japan, to the University of Paris in Orsay, with stops at the University of California at Berkeley and Cornell University, prior to his becoming a member of the Caltech faculty. As Executive Officer for Physics and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech, Dr. Frautschi's research concentration has included Regge poles, bootstrap theory, and cosmology. He is the author of Regge Poles and S-Matrix Theory, published in 1963.

Dr. Frautschi's major role in The Mechanical Universe project was the preparation of the textbook for science and engineering majors. In preparation for this task, he taught the Caltech freshman physics course and field-tested a draft of the text during the fall quarter 1983.

Jim Blinn, a pioneer in computer animation and scientific visualization, has been actively involved in computer graphics for the past 20 years. He attended the University of Michigan for undergraduate work and then received a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1978. He then joined the staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Caltech, producing animations depicting various space missions to Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.

After designing and executing over 8 hours of original computer animation for The Mechanical Universe, Dr. Blinn subsequently turned his talents to Project MATHEMATICS! Dr. Blinn has received numerous accolades for his contributions to computer graphics, including a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and the ACM Siggraph Life Achievement Award. He is currently a member of the Microsoft Research Graphics Group at Microsoft, Inc. and continues to publish his award-winning computer graphics column in the IEEE Journal of Computer Graphics.

Dave A. Campbell, (deceased), Academic Consultant, was Chairman of the Physics and Astronomy Department at Saddleback Community College, where he taught physics, mathematics, astronomy, science fiction, and interdisciplinary studies. He was primarily interested in improving undergraduate education through the use of interdisciplinary courses. Dave authored the Mechanical Universe Scene Selector (MUSS) database search software for The Mechanical Universe and was instrumental in the production of the IBM-funded Lorentz Transformation Interactive Videodisc project.

Judith Goodstein, Academic Consultant, serves as Registrar, University Archivist and Faculty Associate in History at Caltech. Judith has written numerous articles, papers and books, including a history of Caltech entitled Millikan's School and is co-author of the recent book Feynman's Lost Lecture. She has written and lectured extensively on physical-science studies ranging from the origins of modern chemistry to the history of Italian science under fascism to the rise of applied mathematics in America.

Don Delson, Project Manager, was recruited by David Goodstein in June 1982 to investigate the possibility of videotaping Caltech physics lectures for television. The result of his investigation became the first glimmerings of a greater task - the development of The Mechanical Universe. Mr. Delson worked closely with the various organizations and individuals involved in the project, overseeing the different aspects of producing the series. He was also responsible for the production of the CAV laserdisc version of The Mechanical Universe and assisted in the launch of the Project MATHEMATICS! series.