Jacob Goldman, Xerox Lab Founder, Is Dead

    December 22, 2011

100% of you would probably not be reading this if it hadn’t been for Dr. Jacob E. Goldman.

While he wasn’t inventor of Xerox copiers, Jacob Goldman, a physicist and visionary, made an even more important contribution to your life: he was the chief scientist of Xerox’s research center that invented the modern personal computer. So today, when you bitTorrent the Fast and Furious series or tweet about how long it’s taking you to move through the ordering line at Panera, take a moment to respectful observe the contribution of Dr. Goldman for he has passed. He was 90.

Xerox has been so successful in the realm of office copiers that its synonymous with any copying machine, not to mention that it’s now been verbified (“Peeeter, what’s happening? Hey, could you go Xerox 30 copies of this for me? Greeeaaaat, thanks.”). Foreseeing that the people of the future would want to copy things in a new way, a la “copy and paste,” Xerox entered the realm of computer manufacturing. Xerox brought in Dr. Goldman to helm the mission to shrink and personalize the computer (these were still the days of living room-sized computers you see in old sci-fi war rooms) and, voila, about 40 years later you probably couldn’t figure out how to turn on a faucet without your personal computer.

While Xerox fumbled their future with personal computers, you still have Dr. Goldman to thank for the fact that you can read this from your laptop, tablet, phone, whatever. Just think, we might not have had Saint Jobs had it not been for Dr. Goldman’s innovative, brilliant mind.