Thomas K. Landauer
Tom Landauer died on March 26th after a long illness at age 81. Tom was born in Highland Park, Illinois to Robert and Ruth Landauer. He was one of three children (Robert Landauer, Jr. and Joseph Landauer predeceased him). Tom's family spent summers at the YMCA of the Rockies camp, which fostered Tom's lifelong love of hiking and skiing. Tom received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado. There he abandoned his mother's dream for him of becoming a medical doctor and became intrigued with psychology and anthropology. Tom completed his Ph.D. at Harvard in Social Relations in 1960. He became a psychology professor and taught at Dartmouth, Stanford, Princeton, and the University of Colorado, where he was an emeritus professor. In 1969 he took a job at Bell Laboratories in the basic research area where he began one of the first research groups in human-computer interaction. Tom was a gifted, creative thinker and teacher. He made major contributions to experimental psychology, anthropology, and cognitive science. Tom spent 25 years of his career at Bell Laboratories and later Bellcore in New Jersey. With several colleagues he invented Latent Semantic Analysis, which mathematically models people's knowledge of words and their semantic interrelationships, and has had a major impact on computational language modeling. His personal genius was used to mentor many younger colleagues, who have gone on to have illustrious careers in psychology, cognitive science and research and development management. Tom believed cognitive theories should be turned into inventions that improved human learning. As an example, his seminal work on Latent Semantic Analysis resulted in a technique to automatically score written text, such as essays. He founded a company to turn research in language into educational technology products. That company (Knowledge Analysis Technologies) was purchased by Pearson plc in 2004 and continues to thrive. Tom worked as chief scientist until 2013. His wife, Lynn was president of the company until 2013. Tom is survived by his three daughters and their spouses, Katherine and John Vernacchia (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Deborah Landauer (Burlington, Vermont, former spouse. Thomas Kafka), and Elizabeth Landauer of Brooklyn, New York. Tom and his first wife, Cynthia Almy Josephs (now deceased) had three grandchildren, Alexander Landauer, Orion Kafka, and Matthew Vernacchia. Tom is survived by his sister-in-law, Beth Mooney (Cleveland, Ohio), and his wife, Lynn Streeter of Boulder, Colorado. Contributions to the Grameen Foundation or Family Hospice of Boulder would be welcomed.

Published by The Daily Camera on Apr. 6, 2014.
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11 Entries
Lynn and family, My belated condolences. I just heard the news, having tried to send my annual New Years greetings to Tom, without success. My sincere condolences. I knew Tom and his family since I was a kid on Judson Ave in Highland Park. In fact, I cut the grass at his home for a number of years while in the neighborhood school. We vacationed with the Landauer's in Estes Park over the years as well. A true family friend. Later, when I completed my own PHD in cognitive science, and joined the faculty at U of Penn, Tom and I reconnected, and he was my first invitee to a lecture series at Penn, on one of his favorite topics (the amount of knowledge human memory can contain). We stayed in touch over the years, including in Boulder. One thing that never changed in Tom was his curiosity in nearly everything, and is truly infectious sense of humor. From the other comments, I can see that many also feel the loss of his great spirit.
Dan Wagner
January 4, 2015
I was in Arizona boarding school with Tom 1943, 44, and part of 45. I was at CU with Tom 1951, 52,53 and 54 and was with him to drink fine wine on the Boulder Mall. I knew him very well for a very long, long time. What a very, very nice person. ALAN F. FOX
September 2, 2014
Very sorry to hear it.
Sang Bok Lee
April 30, 2014
Sorry to hear about this.
Jeffery Triggs
April 13, 2014
Thank you for your valuable contributions to cognitive science and educational technology fields.
Dee Kanejiya
April 12, 2014
Thank you for your kindness and help to me through the years, and for your contributions to the fields of human-computer interaction and cognitive science. My condolences to Tom's family and many friends.
Scott Robertson
April 11, 2014
Tom was an intellectual powerhouse, and his piercing intellect often caused those of use who knew him (and I go back to his time as a visiting academic at Stanford) to question the assumptions on which our research rested. I didn't always agree with Tom, but he always made his point of view clear and persuasive. He will be greatly missed.
Joe Young
April 11, 2014
You were an inspiration as a person, as a scientist, and as a friend. I will miss you greatly.
Roger Schvaneveldt
April 11, 2014
Tom Landauer was a person of spritely intelligence who often took a distinctively different perspective on important problems. The research of his later years well exemplified the cognitive science point that daring to take on complex problems of practical importance can lead to new understanding of fundamental importance. The entire field of cognitive science will miss him. These same qualities made him a very interesting person to know personally. I wish I had known him better and sympathize with his family in their loss.
Susan Chipman
April 8, 2014
You were the best uncle any nephew could ask for. I love you and will miss you.
Dan Landauer
April 7, 2014
I will miss you Dad.
Debbie Landauer
April 6, 2014
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