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Press Release

Lauren Ward

For immediate release:
September 19, 2005

Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Physics Receives Generous Bequest from Pake Family To Enrich Graduate Education

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Physics has received a gift of more than $550,000 from the estate of the late alumnus and Xerox PARC executive George E. Pake and his wife, Marjorie S. Pake, to offer a new source of financial support to its doctoral students.

"The top priority for our graduate program is endowed fellowships. This wonderful gift from the Pake family will be tremendously beneficial to our program, and it is particularly appropriate for it to be associated with a world-renowned physicist, George Pake," said Fred Gilman, Ph.D., head of the Department of Physics and Buhl Professor of Theoretical Physics.

The department currently has approximately 75 graduate students pursuing research in a range of fields, including high-energy physics, medium-energy physics, astrophysics and condensed-matter physics, as well as interdisciplinary work at the boundaries of chemistry, biology, materials science and engineering. In addition to research, all graduate students assist in teaching undergraduate physics students.

Pake earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics in 1945 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 1948. At Harvard and Washington universities, he conducted research that proved foundational to the development of modern magnetic resonance imaging, a widely used medical and scientific research tool. Pake taught physics at Stanford from 1956 to 1962, then returned to Washington University, where he served as executive vice chancellor, provost and professor of physics.

In 1970, Pake founded and led the Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). He recruited scientists and engineers who developed the laser printer, office networking, the graphical user interface and other cornerstones of contemporary office computing environments. Pake is credited with pioneering a management style at PARC that combined the best of academic and industrial research, development and business practices. In 1978, Pake became vice president of research for the Xerox Corporation, and in 1986, he moved to a position as director of the Institute for Research on Learning in Palo Alto, where he developed positive, hands-on learning experiences in science and mathematics for teachers and students. Pake also served on the President's Science Advisory Committee during the administrations of Johnson and Nixon. In 1987, he was honored with the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor, for his many contributions.

The MCS at Carnegie Mellon develops innovative research and educational programs in biological sciences, chemistry, physics, mathematics and several interdisciplinary areas. For more information, visit


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