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Newton, Arthur Richard (Rich) (1951–2007)

from Sydney Morning Herald

Richard Newton, photo by Bart Nagel

Richard Newton, photo by Bart Nagel

Richard Newton, an Australian-born technology pioneer and professor who headed the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), has died in California aged 55.

Newton, a leader in the field of developing software to produce increasingly complex microchips, died of pancreatic cancer at the UC San Francisco Medical Centre on Tuesday, according to UCB.

His work in microprocessor software design led to the founding of at least six tech companies, including Synopsys and Cadence Design Systems.

"Every electronic device created today probably involved software in its design process that Richard developed," said Edward Lee, the Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor in electrical engineering and computer sciences at UCB.

After he became the engineering college's dean in 2000, Newton combined his knowledge of business, academia and technology to transform the school, making it larger, more efficient and more financially accountable.

He was the driving force behind UCB's Centre for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, the first public-private collaboration designed to tackle social, environmental and health care problems affecting California and the world.

"Rich Newton was a man of incorporable vision," said UCB Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

"Dynamic and entrepreneurial, he understood the power of engineering and technology in entirely new ways, and he connected it to addressing society's toughest problems."

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, he was a standout athlete but eventually chose science over sports.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering at the University of Melbourne and his doctorate at UCB, where he became a professor in 1979.

He is survived by his wife, Petra Michel, two daughters, his mother, sister and two brothers.

Original publication

  • Sydney Morning Herald, 6 January 2007

Other Obituaries for Arthur Richard (Rich) Newton

Citation details

'Newton, Arthur Richard (Rich) (1951–2007)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/newton-arthur-richard-rich-1673/text1791, accessed 24 October 2017.

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