George Pake was a physicist and research executive primarily known for helping found Xerox PARC. Pake 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 Pake out of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.
Pake was raised in Kent, Ohio; his father was an English instructor at Kent State University. Though he never again lived in Kent after his childhood, George Pake retained deep feeling for the city of Kent, 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, Pake 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 Dr. Pake's 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.