Canadian physicist who worked with Jerome I Friedman and Henry Way Kendall conducting pioneering research into the collision of high-energy electrons with protons and neutrons, which were important in developing the quark model of particle physics. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1990 for experiments demonstrating that protons and neutrons are made up of quarks.
Taylor, Friedman, and Kendall experimented with bombarding protons (and later, neutrons) with high-energy electrons in 1970. They found that the electrons were sometimes scattered through large angles inside the proton. This result was interpreted by James D Bjorken and Richard P Feynman, who suggested that the electrons were hitting hard point-like objects inside the proton. These objects were soon shown to be quarks.
Taylor was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, and educated at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He moved to Stanford University in California, where he joined the High-Energy Physics Laboratory. From 1958 to 1961 he worked in Paris on an accelerator under construction at Orsay. On his return to the United States he worked at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory at the University of California for a year and then moved back to Stanford. The next two decades were spent working on various electron scattering experiments, with periods at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, and DESY, the German accelerator laboratory in Hamburg. In 1982 he became associate director for research at Stanford, a post he held until 1986 when he resigned to return to research.
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