• Apr 1, 1924
    (b.) -
    Mar 4, 2004
    (d.)

Bio/Description

A physicist and research executive primarily known for helping found Xerox PARC. He earned his bachelors and masters degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and his doctorate in physics at Harvard University in 1948. A rather serious case of scoliosis kept him out of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. He was raised in Kent, Ohio; and was pleased to be asked in later years to deliver the commencement address at Kent State. After four years as a physics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, he became the head of the physics department at age 28. He later went on to become provost of the university from 1962 to 1970 before leaving to serve as founding director of Xerox PARC. PARC assembled a first-rate collection of research talent, especially in the area of computer science. During his years running Xerox PARC, the research center invented the laser printer and pioneered the use of a computer "desktop" which functioned by clicking on "icons." This has since become the computer industry standard. If the Xerox Corporation never chose to open a computer division, it was through no lack of his advocacy. Nevertheless, the failure of that advocacy is well-known in Silicon Valley circles. He was a recipient of the National Medal of Science in 1987 and continued to visit PARC long after his 1986 retirement from Xerox. Late in life, he began writing two different books, both with the collaborator Andrew Szanton. One of his books was a life memoir, the other a book of advice for those running research centers, "think tanks" or other small groups of highly intelligent and independent people, and trying to coax them to work collectively to achieve organizational goals. His death in 2004 interrupted both book projects.
  • Date of Birth:

    Apr 1, 1924
  • Date of Death:

    Mar 4, 2004
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    Founding director of Xerox PARC during which time, the research center invented the laser printer and pioneered the use of a desktop computer which functioned by clicking on "icons", a process that has since become the computer industry standard
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info:

Still Alive: