Benjamin Oren Goldman (He/Him)

Student, Columbia University
  • People
  • United States of America

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Leadership & Research Scholar


Columbia University

Laidlaw Cohort Year


Research Topic

Astronomy Astrophysics

Area of Expertise


I am from:

United States of America

I speak:


My hobbies/interests are:

Gaming Hiking/walking Martial Arts Reading Running/jogging


Channels contributed to:


Rooms participated in:

Columbia University

Recent Comments

I enjoyed watching your video! Your project seemed really interesting and impressive, and I'm interested to see where it goes next. Best of luck for the second summer!

Replying to Rojeh Dayan

1. When beginning my research project, I had assumed that the community I am researching was well-received in Israel since it is a Jewish community but expected that the US may be a different story. However, I came to learn that the Jewish-Iranian community was, and even still is today although to a lesser extent, discriminated against in Israel. This was a surprising fact that contradicted my initial assumptions and has enriched my perspective of the topic at hand, allowing me to more greatly appreciate the efforts individuals have made to preserve their Iranian heritage and reclaim their ancestry. 

2. CLIO has proved particularly useful to me as it allows me to access a wide breadth of information with just one search. It is especially useful since it contains various types of sources, such as physical books and e-books. Moreover, topic-specific databases have proven to be useful as well.

Hi Rojeh, I was really interested by your response because it's often too easy to ignore both the great diversity and tension within religious and ethnic groups. When we see others' identities as monolithic, we ignore this complexity. Thank you for highlighting this! Also I agree--CLIO is a lifesaver. I can't imagine what this summer's research would have been like without it.

1. One of the goals for my project is to examine and re-simulate some past results (and then build off of them). However, I'm often struggling to follow some of the mathematical derivations for these past theories. For example, under many circumstances, turbulence in an ionized gas can cause it to generate its own magnetic field, and there are theories as to what these precise circumstances are, and what shapes of magnetic fields can form. However, I'm having trouble making sense of these theories, since I haven't taken classes in many of the tools that are involved in their math. Additionally, I'm using a piece of software to conduct computational simulations of this turbulence, but I don't really understand how this software works, which is important for me to to give the right input data and understand its output data. These challenges have really shown me how large this project is and how long it will take. This summer is only the first step in my project, and I still have a lot of interesting work to do, especially since  the goals of this project have changed as well. Now, rather than examining the dynamics of stars such as our sun, I am now modelling what happens in neutron star collisions. This has been a challenging but enjoyable shift, since we now must also consider the relationship between changing magnetic fields and fluid turbulence. However, I'm excited for this shift, because neutron stars are really interesting.

2. Zotero has been useful for keeping all of my papers organized.. Also, the Python tool "Jupyter", has been really helpful in certain stages of the project because it makes it easier to experiment with different ways of analyzing data by continuously showing my code's results in "real time". Clio and the Northwest Corner library have been helpful because they contain some great textbooks on my topic. Also, the school's supercomputing resources have helped me to run simulations at higher resolution levels than would be possible on my laptop.

Replying to Sarah Bryden

1. By the end of the six weeks, I plan to have an annotated bibliography and a well-organized document with all the translated lyrics. I plan to write a paper in the future, because I think doing so would help me organize my thinking, and would also let me share my work more efficiently with people. It also feels like the more I learn about my topic, the more questions I have, so I would definitely love to continue working on my project throughout the year. For example, interviews with rap artists and rap fans would be incredibly helpful. Also, there are so many interesting elements of the music that I'm intentionally de-prioritizing right now in order to focus on the lyrics, such as the accompanying music videos. Looking more closely at these elements is a bit outside the scope of a six-week project, but would definitely be rewarding in the future. 

2. My research topic connects to several broader sociopolitical issues, most clearly a global trend of Indigenous hip hop, which is happening all across the Americas, as well as in Asia, Australia, and even some European countries. Often, this music is a highly political mode of self-expression tied to issues of language preservation/revitalization, sovereignty and land back movements, systemic injustices and violence, and the cultivation of pride in Indigenous identity. Maya and Quechua hip hop both serve as examples of grassroots efforts to handle these issues, and so are important to consider as we move towards a more equitable/just future. 

I really agree with you that this summer is really only the beginning of a more in-depth project, and although now it's somewhat sad to have to de-prioritize certain parts of our projects, we'll definitely have time to work on them later. It's amazing how deeply your project is tied to cultural and social movements, so I bet it could have a big impact.

1. My research this summer is part of a larger project that will likely continue through my second and third years of college. It will likely culminate in a paper. However, this paper will probably not be ready for at least a year or two, as I am only beginning to produce novel results. This summer, I have mainly worked with my mentor to build a foundation of how to apply some of the tools that astrophysicists use when studying turbulence. I've gained a mathematical understanding of how energy flows in fluids, and a practical experience in the use of simulations to perform experiments. I expect to continue to use these throughout the study while continuing to learn the mechanics of what I'm studying.

2. My research matters because it will aid us in the detection and observation of largely unknown phenomena. Part of my project involves understanding the evolution of neutron stars' magnetic fields after they collide. These magnetic fields are expected to drive gamma-ray emissions, which are observable. Therefore, by producing quantitative predictions of how their magnetic fields work, we can eventually determine what radiation signatures to observe and produce hints on how to interpret them.

Replying to Nina Kornfeld

While my research does not involve any human or animal subjects, it does involve gathering lots of different flower samples, which I have been taking from Riverside park. The first ethical question that comes to my mind about my project is about the collection of flowers from a public space, one where I have no more of a right to pick flowers than anyone else. Of course, if everyone walking through riverside picked flowers, there would be none left for others to enjoy- which I think points to larger questions about the use of our natural resources. Picking flowers in Riverside park seems pretty trivial, but national parks across the globe have been struggling with the fact that everyone wants to collect a piece of nature. Tourism can destroy natural wonders, not just through the pollution it brings, but also because everyone wants to take a piece of what they see with them, eventually completely depleting the resources they have. In the future I am looking to collect flowers from the new york botanical gardens, but for now I will continue collecting samples from the park, which I think is justified as it will help understand (and protect if needed) these flowers better in the long run.

You raise a really interesting question, and I agree that on principle, we should not take, research should only give. However, your last sentence also resonates with me, that as even though you take in the short term, you give much more in the long term. On the other hand, the Botanical Garden seems like a great partner, considering their goals and the diversity of the species they keep.

. My research project seems pretty devoid of ethical implications, issues or otherwise. However, after further thought, I realized that the methods I use are deeply rooted in some of the fundamental ethical issues facing modern society. Nearly all of my analysis is done on computer processors, whose production involves human rights abuses, environmental degradation, and exploitative politics. Sustainably sourced computer processors are virtually nonexistent, so my project, in part, rests upon such abuses. I am not sure how to respond to this issue.

2. One significantly helpful perspective shift I employ in my project is that of taking the perspective of a particle of fluid. For example, when imagining myself as a molecule of fluid in my experiment, I can better visualize the forces that act on it in a way that simply seeing the equations of motion would not. This perspective has helped me to qualitatively understand important laws and concepts for which I lack some expected background knowledge.

Replying to Sarah Bryden

1. So far, hearing about the wide range of projects people are working on has helped me clarify the methodology for my own project. For instance, when my grad student mentor led a meeting this week, a few people explained how they were incorporating quantitative analysis into the qualitative aspects of their research, like interviews. Their explanations made me realize that doing something similar could help me in my project as well.

2. Because I'm starting to accumulate many sources, I've found that the discussions about Zotero and bias have both been very relevant. I had never heard of Zotero before last week, and it has been such a helpful way to organize what I read. Keeping potential biases in mind has been valuable when reading secondary sources. It's also been very important to consider bias when working on translating song lyrics, since it is sometimes difficult to come up with English words that match the bias, or lack of bias, conveyed by the original. 

Your comment on considering bias while investigating a source is really interesting, since it made me realize how much our society and background shapes the way that we might interpret anything from song lyrics to datasets. I agree with your idea that one's language can sometimes provide a limiting framework when representing a different culture, and it applies to my own project because it mirrors the fact that often one loses important information when making choices on how to represent data or simulate a problem.