working on a new invention and preparing for a business presentation to one of the world’s biggest companies.... In the end, he also taught us how to live our own lives, from beginning to end, in the Internet age.8
Ever modest, Baran never failed to minimize his own credit and gave much to others. He was at his best working in partnership with creative, smart, and adventurous colleagues, overcoming obstacles with a calm panache that made him unique. Bob Kahn sums it up in an elegant way: “Paul was one of the finest gentlemen I ever met and creative to the very end.” He will be missed but long remembered.
Paul Baran married Evelyn Murphy in 1955 and moved to Los Angeles. Sans Ph.D. himself, Baran often remarked that Evelyn (with her Harvard Ph.D. in economics) was the better educated but, thankfully, she did not remind him of this. Another favorite tale of his was that when someone phoned asking for “Dr. Baran,” he would say, “Just a moment, I’ll get my wife.” Evelyn passed away in 2007, after their 52 years of marriage. Baran is survived by his son David, three grandchildren, and his companion of recent years, Ruth Rothman. Of Ruth, Baran confided that she had been his prom date many years ago.
1 Reliable Digital Communications Systems Using Unreliable Network Repeater Nodes, P. Baran, Report P-1995, The RAND Corporation, 1960.
2 On distribution communications: Introduction to distributed communications networks, P. Baran, Report RM-3420, The RAND Corporation, 1964.
3 L. Kleinrock, “Message delay in communication nets with storage,” Ph.D. dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA, 1962.
4 L. Kleinrock, Communication Nets: Stochastic Message Flow and Delay, McGraw-Hill (New York: 1964).
5 D. W. Davies, K. A. Bartlett, R. A. Scantlebury, and P. T. Wilkinson, “A Digital Communications Network for Computers Giving Rapid Response at Remote Terminals,” unpublished paper presented at the ACM Symposium, Operating Systems Problems, Oct. 1967.