Richard E. Taylor Biography


Birthday: November 2, 1929 (Scorpio)

Born In: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

Richard Edward Taylor was a Canadian scientist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Henry Kendall and Jerome Friedman for discovering the quarks model. He grew up in Canada and studied at three different schools before going on to study at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. He was not a particularly a gifted student during his school days but due to the guidance of his teachers, he developed an interest in the sciences and pursued science at university. After attaining his master’s degree from the University of Edmonton, he studied at Stanford University for his doctorate and subsequently worked there as a professor and researcher. He worked at Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre (SLAC) for many years and his experiments on quarks model took shape during the 1970s in collaboration with two other scientists. At the same time, he also went to Europe for research work and spent time in France, Germany and also at CERN in Geneva during his illustrious career as a particle physicist. Later, he went on to become the Assistant Director of Research at SLAC.

Quick Facts

Canadian Celebrities Born In November

Also Known As: Richard Taylor, Richard Edward Taylor

Died At Age: 88


Spouse/Ex-: Rita Bonneau

Born Country: Canada

Physicists Canadian Men

Died on: February 22, 2018

place of death: Stanford, California, U.S.

More Facts

education: 1962 - Stanford University, 1952 - University of Alberta

awards: Nobel Prize in Physics (1990)
FRS (1997)

Childhood & Early Life

Richard Edward Taylor was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada on November 2, 1929. He was Northern Irish-Scottsh by descent on his father’s side.

He studied at multiple schools and according to his own admission he was not a gifted student. He attributes his early success in the sciences and mathematics to his teachers who taught him at different schools that he attended.

After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and his low grades in high school proved to be a hindrance in his quest for higher education. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1950, and two years later got his master’s degree from the same institute.

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After obtaining his master’s degree from the University of Alberta, he decided to move to California and was accepted into the graduate level programme at Stanford University. He worked at the High Energy Physics Laboratory in the University and for three years he worked at Ecole Normale Superieure.

In 1962, Richard E. Taylor was awarded his doctorate by Stanford University after he completed a study on the production of pion with the help of polarised gamma rays. Subsequently he was employed by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California but he did not work there for long. For six years starting in 1962, he worked as a member of the staff at Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre (SLAC) and during those years his research on electron scattering experiments formed the bedrock of his career as a scientist.

In 1968, he joined SLAC as an assistant professor and two years later he was made a full professor. Three years after that he went to CERN to research for a year after winning a Guggenheim fellowship. During the time he spent at CERN, neutral currents were invented and he started working harder on the theories related to parity conservation.

Throughout his time at the SLAC during the 1970s, he collaborated with Jerome Friedman and Henry Kendall, on a series of experiments that proved that protons as well as neutrons in an atom are constituted by quarks. The experiments had far reaching consequences in the world of science and led to the trio winning the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Richard E. Taylor received the Alexander von Humboldt award in 1981, and for the next academic year, he got the chance to work at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchronton or DESY, located in Hamburg. After completing that stint he went back to the SLAC as Associate Director of Research and remained in the position for four years. Subsequently, he worked as a researcher at different institutes in Europe.

Major Works

His most important work revolved about the series of experiments that he conducted throughout the 1970s at SLAC with Jerome Friedman and Henry Kendall that led to the discovery of quarks in neutrons and protons. Quarks are regarded as the basis of all matter. They shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990 for their work.

Awards & Achievements
He won the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist award in 1981.
In 1989, he won the W.K.H. Panofsky Prize.

Richard E. Taylor shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990, with Jerome Friedman and Henry Kendall.

Personal Life, Legacy & Death

Richard E. Taylor got married to Rita Bonneau after attaining his master’s degree from the University of Alberta in 1952. The couple had a son, Ted.


Richard E. Taylor died on February 22, 2018, at his home in Stanford, California. He was 88. 

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