Larry Tesler, the computer scientist behind cut, copy and paste, dies aged 74

February 20, 2020
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Lawrence “Larry” Tesler, the icon credited for his innovation that allows you cut, copy, and paste texts, has died at the age of 74.

He died on Monday, February 17. His death was announced on Twitter on Wednesday, February 19, by Xerox, where he spent part of his career.

Xerox tweeted. “The inventor of cut/copy & paste, find & replace, and more, was former Xerox researcher Larry Tesler. Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas.”

Larry Tesler, the computer scientist behind cut, copy and paste, dies aged 74

Mr Tesler was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1945, and studied at Stanford University in California. Tesler specialised in human-computer interaction, employing his skills at Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

The icon of early computing started working in Silicon Valley in the early 1960s, at a time when computers were inaccessible to the vast majority of people. After graduating, he specialised in user interface design.

He started at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), before Steve Jobs poached him for Apple, where he spent 17 years and rose to chief scientist. He went on to establish an education startup and did stints in user-experience technology at Amazon and Yahoo.

Thanks to his innovations – including the “cut”, “copy” and “paste” commands – the personal computer became simple to learn and use.

“Tesler created the idea of ‘cut, copy, & paste’ and combined computer science training with a counterculture vision that computers should be for everyone,” the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley tweeted on Wednesday while paying tribute to him.

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