Richard E. Taylor

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Richard Taylor
Richard E. Taylor.jpg
Taylor in 1967
BornRichard Edward Taylor
(1929-11-02)2 November 1929
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
Died22 February 2018(2018-02-22) (aged 88)
Stanford, California, U.S.
Alma mater
Scientific career
FieldsParticle physics
Thesis Positive pion production by polarised bremsstrahlung  (1962)
Doctoral advisor Robert F. Mozley

Richard Edward Taylor, CC FRS FRSC (2 November 1929 – 22 February 2018) [2] , was a Canadian physicist and Stanford University professor. [3] He shared the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics with Jerome Friedman and Henry Kendall "for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics." [4] [5] [6]

Order of Canada order

The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Canada judges to have "made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life".


Early life

Taylor was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He studied for his BSc (1950) and MSc (1952) degrees at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Newly married, he applied to work for a PhD degree at Stanford University, where he joined the High Energy Physics Laboratory. [7]

University of Alberta university in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The University of Alberta is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It was founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta, and Henry Marshall Tory, its first president. Its enabling legislation is the Post-secondary Learning Act.

Stanford University private research university located in Stanford, California, United States

Leland Stanford Junior University is an American private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.

His PhD thesis was on an experiment using polarised gamma rays to study pion production. [8]

Gamma ray electromagnetic radiation of high frequency and therefore high energy

A gamma ray or gamma radiation, is a penetrating electromagnetic radiation arising from the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei. It consists of the shortest wavelength electromagnetic waves and so imparts the highest photon energy. Paul Villard, a French chemist and physicist, discovered gamma radiation in 1900 while studying radiation emitted by radium. In 1903, Ernest Rutherford named this radiation gamma rays based on their relatively strong penetration of matter; he had previously discovered two less penetrating types of decay radiation, which he named alpha rays and beta rays in ascending order of penetrating power.

Pion lightest meson

In particle physics, a pion is any of three subatomic particles:
, and
. Each pion consists of a quark and an antiquark and is therefore a meson. Pions are the lightest mesons and, more generally, the lightest hadrons. They are unstable, with the charged pions
decaying with a mean lifetime of 26.033 nanoseconds, and the neutral pion
decaying with a much shorter lifetime of 8.4×10−17 seconds. Charged pions most often decay into muons and muon neutrinos, while neutral pions generally decay into gamma rays.

Research and career

After 3 years at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and a year at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California, Taylor returned to Stanford. [9] Construction of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (now the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) was beginning. [10] In collaboration with researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Taylor worked on the design and construction of the equipment, and was involved in many of the experiments. [10]

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory research institute

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, originally named Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, is a United States Department of Energy National Laboratory operated by Stanford University under the programmatic direction of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and located in Menlo Park, California.

California Institute of Technology private research university located in Pasadena, California

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private doctorate-granting research university in Pasadena, California. Known for its strength in natural science and engineering, Caltech is often ranked as one of the world's top-ten universities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. The institute is traditionally known for its research and education in the physical sciences and engineering, but more recently in biology, economics, linguistics and management as well. MIT is often ranked among the world's top five universities.

In 1971, Taylor was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship that allowed him to spend a sabbatical year at CERN. [3]

CERN international organization which operates the worlds largest particle physics laboratory

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, the organization is based in a northwest suburb of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border and has 22 member states. Israel is the only non-European country granted full membership. CERN is an official United Nations Observer.

The experiments run at SLAC in the late 1960s and early 1970s involved scattering high-energy beams of electrons from protons and deuterons and heavier nuclei. [11] [12] [13] At lower energies, it had already been found that the electrons would only be scattered through low angles, consistent with the idea that the nucleons had no internal structure. [13] However, the SLAC-MIT experiments showed that higher energy electrons could be scattered through much higher angles, with the loss of some energy. [13] These deep inelastic scattering results provided the first experimental evidence that the protons and neutrons were made up of point-like particles, later identified to be the up and down quarks that had previously been proposed on theoretical grounds. [10] The experiments also provided the first evidence for the existence of gluons. Taylor, Friedman and Kendall were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1990 for this work. [14]

Electron subatomic particle with negative electric charge

The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol
, whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation of the lepton particle family, and are generally thought to be elementary particles because they have no known components or substructure. The electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton. Quantum mechanical properties of the electron include an intrinsic angular momentum (spin) of a half-integer value, expressed in units of the reduced Planck constant, ħ. As it is a fermion, no two electrons can occupy the same quantum state, in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle. Like all elementary particles, electrons exhibit properties of both particles and waves: they can collide with other particles and can be diffracted like light. The wave properties of electrons are easier to observe with experiments than those of other particles like neutrons and protons because electrons have a lower mass and hence a longer de Broglie wavelength for a given energy.

Proton nucleon (constituent of the nucleus of the atom) that has positive electric charge; symbol p

A proton is a subatomic particle, symbol
, with a positive electric charge of +1e elementary charge and a mass slightly less than that of a neutron. Protons and neutrons, each with masses of approximately one atomic mass unit, are collectively referred to as "nucleons".

Atomic nucleus core of the atom; composed of bound nucleons (protons and neutrons)

The atomic nucleus is the small, dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom, discovered in 1911 by Ernest Rutherford based on the 1909 Geiger–Marsden gold foil experiment. After the discovery of the neutron in 1932, models for a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons were quickly developed by Dmitri Ivanenko and Werner Heisenberg. An atom is composed of a positively-charged nucleus, with a cloud of negatively-charged electrons surrounding it, bound together by electrostatic force. Almost all of the mass of an atom is located in the nucleus, with a very small contribution from the electron cloud. Protons and neutrons are bound together to form a nucleus by the nuclear force.


Taylor died at his home in Stanford, California near the campus of Stanford University on 22 February 2018 at the age of 88. [10] [15]

Awards and honours

Taylor has received numerous awards and honours including:

Related Research Articles

Quark elementary particle of which the proton or any other other baryon or meson is composed

A quark is a type of elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation; they can be found only within hadrons, which include baryons and mesons. For this reason, much of what is known about quarks has been drawn from observations of hadrons.

The strange quark or s quark is the third lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle. Strange quarks are found in subatomic particles called hadrons. Example of hadrons containing strange quarks include kaons, strange D mesons, Sigma baryons, and other strange particles.

The up quark or u quark is the lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle, and a major constituent of matter. It, along with the down quark, forms the neutrons and protons of atomic nuclei. It is part of the first generation of matter, has an electric charge of +2/3 e and a bare mass of 2.3+0.7
.. Like all quarks, the up quark is an elementary fermion with spin 1/2, and experiences all four fundamental interactions: gravitation, electromagnetism, weak interactions, and strong interactions. The antiparticle of the up quark is the up antiquark, which differs from it only in that some of its properties, such as charge have equal magnitude but opposite sign.

The down quark or d quark is the second-lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle, and a major constituent of matter. Together with the up quark, it forms the neutrons and protons of atomic nuclei. It is part of the first generation of matter, has an electric charge of −1/3 e and a bare mass of 4.8+0.5
. Like all quarks, the down quark is an elementary fermion with spin 1/2, and experiences all four fundamental interactions: gravitation, electromagnetism, weak interactions, and strong interactions. The antiparticle of the down quark is the down antiquark, which differs from it only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign.

The tau (τ), also called the tau lepton, tau particle, or tauon, is an elementary particle similar to the electron, with negative electric charge and a spin of 1/2. Together with the electron, the muon, and the three neutrinos, it is a lepton. Like all elementary particles with half-integer spin, the tau has a corresponding antiparticle of opposite charge but equal mass and spin, which in the tau's case is the antitau. Tau particles are denoted by
and the antitau by

Burton Richter American physicist

Burton Richter was an American physicist. He led the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) team which co-discovered the J/ψ meson in 1974, alongside the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) team led by Samuel Ting for which they won Nobel Prize for Physics in 1976. This discovery was part of the so-called November Revolution of particle physics. He was the SLAC director from 1984 to 1999.

The W and Z bosons are together known as the weak or more generally as the intermediate vector bosons. These elementary particles mediate the weak interaction; the respective symbols are
, and
. The W bosons have either a positive or negative electric charge of 1 elementary charge and are each other's antiparticles. The Z boson is electrically neutral and is its own antiparticle. The three particles have a spin of 1. The W bosons have a magnetic moment, but the Z has none. All three of these particles are very short-lived, with a half-life of about 3×10−25 s. Their experimental discovery was a triumph for what is now known as the Standard Model of particle physics.

Jerome Isaac Friedman American physicist

Jerome Isaac Friedman is an American physicist. He is Institute Professor and Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He won the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Henry Kendall and Richard Taylor, for work showing an internal structure for protons later known to be quarks. Dr. Friedman currently sits on the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

(J/psi) meson or psion is a subatomic particle, a flavor-neutral meson consisting of a charm quark and a charm antiquark. Mesons formed by a bound state of a charm quark and a charm anti-quark are generally known as "charmonium". The
is the most common form of charmonium, due to its low rest mass. The
has a rest mass of 3.0969 GeV/c2, just above that of the
, and a mean lifetime of 7.2×10−21 s. This lifetime was about a thousand times longer than expected.

Martin Lewis Perl American scientist

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Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

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Henry Way Kendall American particle physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics

Henry Way Kendall was an American particle physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990 jointly with Jerome Isaac Friedman and Richard E. Taylor "for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics."

Deep inelastic scattering

Deep inelastic scattering is the name given to a process used to probe the insides of hadrons, using electrons, muons and neutrinos. It provided the first convincing evidence of the reality of quarks, which up until that point had been considered by many to be a purely mathematical phenomenon. It is a relatively new process, first attempted in the 1960s and 1970s. It is an extension of Rutherford scattering to much higher energies of the scattering particle and thus to much finer resolution of the components of the nuclei.

Electron scattering

Electron scattering occurs when electrons are deviated from their original trajectory. This is due to the electrostatic forces within matter interaction or, if an external magnetic field is present, the electron may be deflected by the Lorentz force. This scattering typically happens with solids such as metals, semiconductors and insulators; and is a limiting factor in integrated circuits and transistors.

Arie Bodek is an American experimental particle physicist and the George E. Pake Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester.

The EMC effect is the surprising observation that the cross section for deep inelastic scattering from an atomic nucleus is different from that of the same number of free protons and neutrons. From this observation, it can be inferred that the quark momentum distributions in nucleons bound inside nuclei are different from those of free nucleons. This effect was first observed in 1983 at CERN by the European Muon Collaboration, hence the name "EMC effect". It was unexpected, since the average binding energy of protons and neutrons inside nuclei is insignificant when compared to the energy transferred in deep inelastic scattering reactions that probe quark distributions. While over 1000 scientific papers have been written on the topic and numerous hypotheses have been proposed, no definitive explanation for the cause of the effect has been confirmed. Determining the origin of the EMC effect is one of the major unsolved problems in the field of nuclear physics.

James Bjorken American physicist

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Charles Young Prescott is an American particle physicist.

Luigi Di Lella

Luigi Di Lella is an Italian experimental particle physicist. He has been a staff member at CERN for over 40 years, and has played an important role in major experiments at CERN such as CAST and UA2. From 1986 to 1990 he acted as spokesperson for the UA2 Collaboration, which, together with the UA1 Collaboration, discovered the W and Z bosons in 1983.


  1. 1 2 "Professor Richard Taylor FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-10-21.
  2. Breidenbach, Martin; Prescott, Charles (June 2018). "Richard Taylor 1929-2018". CERN Courier. 58 (5): 41–42. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  3. 1 2 Nobel autobiography
  4. Nobel prize citation
  5. Taylor, R. E. "Nucleon Form Factors above 6 GeV", Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (Sept. 1967).
  6. Taylor, R. E. "The Discovery of the Point Like Structure of Matter", Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), United States Department of Energy--Office of Energy Research, (Sept. 2000).
  7. Taylors Nobel banquet speech
  8. Taylor, Richard Edward (1962). Positive pion production by polarized bremsstrahlung (PhD thesis). Stanford University. OCLC   38657023.
  9. 1 2 Biography and Bibliographic Resources, from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, United States Department of Energy
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Richard E. Taylor, Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Who Helped Discover Quarks, Dies at 88". The Washington Post. 25 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  11. Richard E. Taylor's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  12. Prescott, C.Y.; Atwood, W.B.; Cottrell, R.L.A.; DeStaebler, H.; Garwin, Edward L.; Gonidec, A.; Miller, R.H.; Rochester, L.S.; Sato, T.; Sherden, D.J.; Sinclair, C.K.; Stein, S.; Taylor, R.E.; Clendenin, J.E.; Hughes, V.W.; Sasao, N.; Schüler, K.P.; Borghini, M.G.; Lübelsmeyer, K.; Jentschke, W. (1978). "Parity non-conservation in inelastic electron scattering". Physics Letters B. 77 (3): 347–352. Bibcode:1978PhLB...77..347P. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(78)90722-0. ISSN   0370-2693.
  13. 1 2 3 Bloom, E. D.; Coward, D. H.; DeStaebler, H.; Drees, J.; Miller, G.; Mo, L. W.; Taylor, R. E.; Breidenbach, M.; Friedman, J. I.; Hartmann, G. C.; Kendall, H. W. (1969). "High-Energy Inelastice−pScattering at 6° and 10°". Physical Review Letters. 23 (16): 930–934. Bibcode:1969PhRvL..23..930B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.23.930. ISSN   0031-9007.
  14. Nobel prize press release
  16. Taylor's entry in the SLAC index of faculty
  17. "All Prize & Award Recipients". Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  18. 1 2 3 4 "Richard E. Taylor". Retrieved February 25, 2018.