Brad Cox

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The former firehose factory at 75 Glen Road, Sandy Hook, Connecticut, where the Stepstone company was housed in the late 1980s, founded by Brad Cox and Tom Love for releasing the Objective-C programming language

Brad J. Cox (May 2, 1944 – January 2, 2021)[1] was an American computer scientist who was known mostly for creating the Objective-C programming language with his business partner Tom Love and for his work in software engineering (specifically software reuse) and software componentry.


Cox received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Organic Chemistry and Mathematics from Furman University,[2] and his Ph.D. from the Department of Mathematical Biology at the University of Chicago.[3] Among his first known software projects, he wrote a PDP-8 program for simulating clusters of neurons.[4][5]

He worked at the National Institutes of Health and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute before moving into the software profession.[6]

Although Cox invented his own programming language, Objective-C, which he used in his early career, he stated in an interview for the Masterminds of Programming book that he wasn't interested in programming languages but rather in software components, and he regarded languages as mere tools for building and combining parts of software.[7]

Cox was also an entrepreneur, having founded the Stepstone company together with Tom Love for releasing the first Objective-C implementation. Later, NeXT acquired Objective-C from Stepstone. Objective-C continued to be the primary programming language for writing software for Apple's OS X and iOS.[8]


  • Online course "Taming the Electronic Frontier" won a Paul Allen Distance Education Award ($25,000) in 1998.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Dr. Brad J. Cox Ph.D. Obituary". January 2, 2021. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021.
  2. ^ "(unknown)". Bulletin of the South Carolina Academy of Science. South Carolina Academy of Science. 29–32: 79. 1967. {{cite journal}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  3. ^ Cox, Brad J. (June 1973). "The potassium diffusion barrier: examined as a mechanism for squid axon adaptation". Univ. of Chicago, Department of Chemistry. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Cox, Brad; Dzendolet, E. (1970). "Simulation of neural sets". Behavior Research Methods. Springer. 3 (2): 80–82. doi:10.3758/BF03206992.
  5. ^ Simulation of neural sets
  6. ^ Bézivin, Jean, ed. (November 13–15, 1989). "Contributors". TOOLS '89: Technology of object-oriented languages and systems : Proceedings, CNIT Paris, La Défence, France, November 13-15, 1989. TOOLS: technology of object-oriented languages and systems. Paris: CNIT, La Défence. p. 11.
  7. ^ "Belaboring the Obvious: Masterminds of Programming Book". March 27, 2009.
  8. ^ "About Objective-C". Apple Inc. September 17, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  9. ^ Gibson, David; Aldrich, Clark; Prensky, Marc (eds) (2007). Games and simulations in online learning: research and development frameworks. Hershey, PA: IDEA Group. p. 388. ISBN 978-1-59904-305-0. {{cite book}}: |first3= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ Krebs, Arlene (1999). Distance learning funding sourcebook. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7872-4980-9.


  • Object Oriented Programming: An Evolutionary Approach. Addison Wesley. 1991. ISBN 0-201-54834-8.
  • Superdistribution: Objects as Property on the Electronic Frontier. Addison Wesley. 1996. ISBN 0-201-50208-9.

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