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Moise H. Goldstein, Hopkins biomedical engineer

Dr. Moise Goldstein Jr. was a Hopkins biomedical engineer.
Dr. Moise Goldstein Jr. was a Hopkins biomedical engineer. (handout, Baltimore Sun)

Moise H. Goldstein Jr., a retired Johns Hopkins biomedical engineer who assisted the hearing impaired, died of dementia complications April 9 at a Providence, R.I., nursing home. The former Mount Washington resident was 88.

Hopkins colleagues said that Dr. Goldstein's scholarly research focused on the application of engineering to solve biological and medical problems. He contributed basic research to helping deaf children communicate with sound. Beginning in the 1960s, he was among the first scientists to apply computer technology to the study of the brain.

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Born in New Orleans, he was the son of architect Moise H. Goldstein Sr., who designed that city's American Bank Building. His mother, Lois Goetter Goldstein, was a hospital and children's philharmonic concerts volunteer and homemaker. He attended the Newman School and earned a bachelor's degree at Tulane University.

Family members said he was a bright and sociable man with a mischievous side. As a teenager, he and friends took an alligator from the zoo and released it aboard a St. Charles Avenue streetcar. They also switched gazing balls in neighbors' gardens.

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Dr. Goldstein enlisted in the Navy during World War II and trained as a radar technician.

"He spent the bulk of his service honing his poker skills on Guam," said his son, Claude Goldstein of Providence, R.I.

After his military service, he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a doctorate in electrical engineering. He also taught at the school.

"He was a guy with a good sense of humor and he liked playing poker," his son said. "He liked baseball and sailing. He was a dedicated scientist. His early research was in mapping neural responses to stimulus. He was a protege of Dr. Vernon Montcastle."

After Dr. Goldstein joined the Hopkins faculty, he became a founder of the Biomedical Engineering Department on the school's Homewood campus. He was an early user of computers and had an early 1980s K-Pro computer.

A 1966 Baltimore Sun article described how he was then studying the way sound waves are turned into signals the brain can understand.

Ben Yuhas, a former doctoral student who lives in Baltimore, recalled, "He was as much of a friend as a mentor. He was old school and had a compassion for the individual student. As an electrical engineer, he used his knowledge to help the deaf. Engineering could be sterile but he brought it to life."

Mr. Yuhas said that Dr. Goldstein instilled a love of science. "His influence went well beyond my professional development. He and his wife, Phyllis, took me to my first major league baseball game," he said.

Hopkins colleagues and students remembered Dr. Goldstein for his mentorship, discipline and modesty, said his son, Thomas Goldstein of Seattle.

"He was the ultimate human being. He was a superb mentor to generations of students," said Dr. Murray Sachs, colleague and former chair of Biomedical Engineering. "Dr. Goldstein founded the Neural Encoding Lab at Johns Hopkins, where he began the study of the auditory cortex. His most lasting contributions were the students whose careers were initiated in these programs."

Dr. Goldstein took academic sabbaticals in Italy, Israel and England. He traveled to Nepal, Japan and Europe, and spent family vacations in New Orleans, Texas and the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Goldstein also enjoyed Baltimore's historic architecture. In a 1969 letter to the editor, he said, "When visitors speak to me of the beauty of San Francisco, Boston or New Orleans, I am somewhat abashed to say, 'Baltimore once had many lovely buildings, but they were torn down for parking lots.'"

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A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. July 19 at Woods Hole Yacht Club in Woods Hole, Mass. He had been the yacht club's commodore.

In addition to his sons, survivors include another son, Brian Switzer of Woods Hole, Mass.; a sister, Nell Stern of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and three grandchildren. His wife of 41 years, the former Phyllis Dworkin Switzer, a Park School teacher, died in 2011. A daughter, Catherine Taflin, died in 2004. His 1958 marriage to Janet Nancy Heller ended in divorce.

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