Founder of Xerox PARC dies at 90

Jack Goldman, Xerox chief scientist, backed lab credited with major discoveries

Jacob (Jack) Goldman, a physicist best known as the founder of Xerox PARC, died Tuesday in Westport, Conn., at 90.

The first laser printers, personal computers, windows and icons and Ethernet LANs all had their origins at PARC.

As chief scientist at Xerox, Goldman presided over four research labs and was responsible for creating two of them, PARC and the Xerox Research Center of Canada.

Goldman in 1970 tapped physicist George Pake, who was then provost of Washington University, to start a research center and Pake chose Palo Alto.

Pake and Robert Taylor, who came from NASA, attracted talent from Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the Stanford Research Institute and elsewhere. The researchers invented the laser printer and advanced the use of a computer "desktop" that could be manipulated by clicking on icons.

Goldman was an advocate for the Palo Alto research lab though it was located across the country from Xerox's Stamford, Conn., headquarters.

"There is one person that needs to be noted in all of this history and that is Jack Goldman," laser printer inventor Gary Starkweather said in a 1997 interview with OE Reports, a publication of the International Society for Optical Engineering.

"The Palo Alto Research Center was his idea. He deserves enormous credit for being so visionary and putting it where he put it and for setting the goals that he did. I think there is over $50 billion worth of business that's been generated from the technology that came out of PARC."

While Xerox commercialized the printer, it is often criticized for leaving its early work in computers for others, including Apple and Microsoft, to commercialize.

In 2002 PARC became a provider of custom research and development services to other companies, incorporating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox.

Goldman was recruited to Xerox from the Ford Motor Co., where he had been director of the company's scientific research lab.

He served on the boards of Xerox, General Instrument Company, Burndy Corp., GAF, Intermagnetics General, United Brands and others.

He also served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Technical Advisory Board, chaired the Statutory Visiting Committee of the National Bureau of Standards, served as vice-president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and president of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 4,742 views

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 29 comments | 1,950 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,288 views

Lentil Brownies
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 409 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 238 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.