Taylor, Dr. Richard E.

1992 Winner: Alberta Pioneer in Science and Technology

First Canadian to Win Nobel Prize in Physics

Dr. Richard Taylor, a native of Medicine Hat, Alberta holds the distinction of being the first Canadian to be named a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. In 1990, he was one of three physicists to share the prestigious award for breakthrough discoveries about the structure of matter, including the first observance of traces of quark, the sub atomic particles forming the basis of 99 percent of all matter on earth. Dr. Taylor has strong roots in his native province. He attended schools in Medicine Hat before entering the University of Alberta in 1947 to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1950. In 1950 he received his Masters in Science degree. Later that year he was accepted into the graduate program in Physics at Stanford University where he began work in the school’s High Energy Physics Laboratory.

In 1958, Dr. Taylor accepted a fellowship position in the lab at Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France, where he worked for three years before returning to the United States in 1961 to accept a post at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkley, California. In 1962, he completed his thesis and received his PhD from Stanford. In succeeding years, Dr. Taylor conducted research work in collaboration with scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CalTech and Berkeley and was the recipient of numerous awards and degrees.

In 1979, Dr. Taylor was granted an honorary Doctoral degree by the University of Paris, and in 1981 he received an Alexander von Humboldt award, allowing him to conduct research work in Hamburg, Germany. In 1989, Dr. Taylor shared the W.K.H. Panofsky Prize (American Physical Society) for experiments conducted in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s regarding inelastic scattering. In 1990, he and his two colleagues shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for the same experiments. Dr. Taylor maintains his Canadian citizenship and is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Alberta.