In Memoriam: Allen N. Goland

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Posted: April 5, 2010

Allen N. Goland, BNL, died suddenly at his home in Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York on January 14, 2010.  Dr. Goland retired from BNL as a Senior Scientist in 1996, but remained active in research as a Guest Senior Scientist, and Consultant at BNL, and as Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Materials, Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University.
Goland joined the Physics Dept at BNL in 1963 and became Group Leader of the Particle/Solid Interactions Group in 1973.  His international reputation was built largely upon his innovative approach to the study of defects in solids.  He participated in one of the first successful applications of using a large computer to simulate the effects of an energetic particle impacting a solid lattice of atoms, thereby producing radiation damage.  Goland oversaw the installation of an electron accelerator for the production of fundamental defects in materials, and proceeded to lead new efforts in x-ray scattering, internal friction, and positron-annihilation spectroscopy to investigate the properties of these defects.  In 1982 he moved to the Department of Applied Sciences where he held several senior positions including Deputy Chairman.
In 1971 Allen was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, where he taught occasional classes, advised doctoral students and was active in promoting the Thermal Spray Lab and research done in the facility.  Beginning in 2009, he served as a member of the External Advisory Board, Chemical and Molecular Engineering. Program, SUNY/SB.  In addition to his work at BNL and activities at Stony Brook, Goland was involved in many other technical endeavors.  In 1971 he served as Director of the NATO Advanced Study Institute in Istanbul, Turkey, and separately as a visiting professor at the School of Engineering, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Carlos Brazil.  From 1982 until 2008, he was an Associate Editor of The Physical Review B – Condensed Matter.  He was a member of the Research Proposal Review Committee for the New York State Science & Technology Foundation, the Executive Committee, National Steering Committee for the Advanced Neutron Source, the US Department of Energy, Natural Gas and Oil Technology Partnership and a Project Advisor, Basic Research Group, Gas Research Institute.
A long-time friend and collaborator, Herb Herman, said, “Allen Goland, whom I’ve known since the early 1970’s, and I did research together on ion implantation and small-angle neutron scattering of thermal-sprayed porous ceramics. We jointly advised a number of graduate students. I believe we succeeded as a good team, with his great patience and my anxiousness. Allen was a methodical scientist, always weighing all of the issues before agreeing to a solution. He was a highly effective member of the executive committee of the Center for Thermal Spray Research and contributed significantly to our efforts in obtaining a major ten-year grant from NSF. On a number of occasions he traveled to Washington with the executive committee to make presentations to government agencies. His contributions to grant proposals and scientific publications were of considerable importance.  Allen Goland will be missed greatly, both as a friend and as a fine scientist.“
Martin Blume, former Deputy Director of BNL and now Senior Scientist Emeritus; and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the American Physical Society, said of Goland, “When I came to BNL in 1962 I already knew of his pioneering work with Gibson, Milgram, and Vineyard on computer simulation of radiation damage. He and I interacted in many ways over the years. Allen was, as many have remarked, a gentle person who could be counted upon both as a fine scientist and humane administrator. He wrote with clarity and apparent ease, and was therefore called upon to take the lead in the writing of many reports and scientific articles. He was also an excellent editor of Physical Review who contributed greatly to the continuing success of the journals, which eased my job as Editor-in-Chief.”
Some who passed through Goland’s group and then went on to continue careers in science remember Allen as follows:
Don Parkin:  “I had the great privilege of working with Allen as a fresh graduate in physics when I joined BNL in 1970. His mentoring, generosity, and commitment to BNL science, and serving the national and international science community provided me as a young scientist with the ideals that guided my entire career. It is a great honor to have had Allen as a treasured colleague, collaborator, and friend.”
Lew Snead: “ I joined Goland’s group in 1967 and maintained an active collaboration with him as I later moved to the Physical Review and then to the Materials Science Department.  Allen was an innovator, so when I approached him early on with the idea that we could apply the newly emerging technique of postitron-annihilation spectroscopy to the study of vacancies in materials, I found that he was already aware of the technique and encouraging in getting involved.  One collaboration in the early1970’s involved a Brookhaven proposal for a novel neutron source for fusion materials development involving a deuteron beam impinging on a flowing lithium target.  Ironically, that source and the facility for its use is currently under development for the fusion program in Japan.  We enjoyed many conversations over more than a decade of carpooling, some scientific, but the most spirited engaged in a contest of exchanging spontaneously created puns, usually to the chagrin of any fellow carpoolers.  Those who knew Allen as a quiet, serious, cerebral sort might be shocked at his love of the lowly pun.  I am enriched on many fronts from having known him.”
Kelvin Lynn: “Allen hired me into his group in the fall of 1974 when I was fresh out of graduate school.  I had done some of my graduate work using positron annihilation, and he gave me the opportunity to continue in this field, as Allen was working using positrons to understand defects in solids.   His research work extended well beyond positrons as he used almost every particle as well as the elements to study or modify the structure of solids.   Allen was soft-spoken, gentle and diplomatic – traits for which I admired him greatly.  One of Allen’s greatest attributes as a group leader was his ability to guide, but not micromanage.  He gave those of us in his group the freedom to explore, therefore our successes or failures were on our own shoulders, of course with Allen’s encouragement.  At one point in my career I asked him how I was doing in research, and he responded that I should know that myself. Allen was a true mentor, instrumental in launching my career, and in letting me have my freedom, and strongly promoted my tenure at BNL.  I count myself privileged to have had him as a mentor and friend.”
Dave Welch: As a graduate student in the early 1960s, I first became acquainted with Allen by reputation, through his co-authorship of the ground-breaking, classic Gibson-Goland-Milgram-Vineyard paper in the Physical Review, describing the first simulation of the atomic mechanisms of radiation damage using a (then) high-speed computer to simulate the atom movements caused by irradiation of energetic particles. I then became reacquainted with Allen, again by reputation, as a post-doc in 1965, from the superb work of Allen and his group on internal friction in solids caused by radiation-induced crystal defects.  So, I already knew he was a smart man when I finally met him in person, about 1970, at a conference on internal friction and discovered that he was a very charming and friendly man. Shortly thereafter, I came to BNL as a staff scientist, and I soon found myself in Allen’s group in the Physics Department, under his supervision, where I discovered that he was a good man, as well as a good scientist. He encouraged me to work with Kelvin Lynn, and we had several years of very good collaborative effort, as a consequence of Allen’s encouragement.  Then, after I transferred to the Department of Applied Science, I soon found myself again under Allen’s supervision when he became Associate, then Deputy Department Chair, overseeing the Chemical and Materials Science Divisions, among other duties.  Then I found that, not only was he a smart, charming, and good man, he was also a wise man.  It was my good fortune and great pleasure to be a scientific and administrative colleague of Allen’s at BNL for over 25 years, and at Stony Brook for another decade.  I will miss him, but the lessons that I learned from him will remain in my heart and mind.
Allen will be remembered as a gentleman and a scholar by friends, family, and colleagues.   Whether it was his soft-spoken approach to science, always there to listen and advise, his dedicated work in support of the public libraries, or as kind and compassionate friend, husband, father, and grandfather, he will be dearly missed by all.
Allen Goland, who came to the Physics Department as a research associate on September 24, 1956, becoming a guest assistant physicist from October 1958 until August 1963, then joining the Lab as an associate physicist on September 1, 1963, died at 79 on January 14, 2010. In 1966, he was named a physicist, then was granted tenure in 1968, and became a senior physicist in 1973. On July 1, 1982, he moved to the Department of Applied Science as Associate Department Chair, becoming Deputy Department Chair in April 1987. He returned to research in October 1989, and retired as a senior physicist on September 30, 1996. After retirement, he became a guest senior physicist in October 1996, then held a consultant position in the Energy Sciences & Technology Department from August 2001 to July 2008.



Last Modified: April 5, 2010