• 1921 July 18
    (b.) -
    2011 December 20


An American physicist and former Chief Scientist, Chief Technical Officer, and Senior Vice President for Research and Development of Xerox Corporation. He established two of the company's R&D centers: the Xerox Research Center of Canada and Xerox PARC. When he joined Xerox in 1969, he pushed the company to invest in long-term research, proposing the creation of PARC (partly as a way to capitalize on Xerox's purchase of the computer company Scientific Data Systems). He is especially notable for hiring physicist Dr. George Pake to head up the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, which produced many seminal ideas in modern computing, among which are the personal computer, the laser printer, the graphical user interface, Ethernet, bitmap graphics, the WYSIWYG text editor, the Smalltalk language and IDE, and the notion of ubiquitous computing. He was also a faculty member at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and MIT. Before joining Xerox, he worked at Ford, where he conducted research into sodium-sulphur (NaS) batteries for electric cars in the 1960s. After narrowly surviving a fiery crash of his gasoline-powered Lincoln, he quipped, "I guess I proved gasoline is more dangerous than a sodium?sulfur battery." As director of Ford's Scientific Research Laboratory, he succeeded by recruiting top talent and giving them free rein to innovate. Apple's pre-Macintosh GUI-based system, the Lisa, was heavily influenced by Xerox PARC work. In fact, Xerox earned the right to purchase 100,000 shares of pre-IPO Apple stock by giving Apple engineers three days' access to PARC. It was during those three days that the Lisa; and ultimately the Macintosh were born. Microsoft's Bill Gates was also a visitor to PARC. Microsoft tech visionaries Larry Tessler, Charles Simonyi, and others were recruited from PARC.
  • Date of Birth:

    1921 July 18
  • Date of Death:

    2011 December 20
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Creator of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, which produced many seminal ideas in modern computing
  • Category of Achievement:

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