Jacob E. Goldman, physicist and founder of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, has died. At the New York Times, John Markoff highlights why the company’s research center was so important:
Established in 1970 in an industrial park next to Stanford, PARC researchers designed a remarkable array of computer technologies, including the Alto personal computer, the Ethernet office network, laser printing and the graphical user interface.
The technologies would later be commercialized by both Apple Computer and Microsoft, among others, and Xerox would be criticized for not capitalizing enough on the technologies it had pioneered — for “fumbling the future.”
Without Goldman and his lab full of researchers, the PC as we know it wouldn’t exist. RIP.