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Archives, History & Records Office

Archives, History & Records Office | SLAC Research Library |

Last Updated: 08/26/2020

Hours: By appointment Monday-Friday during regular work hours.


Archives E-mail: slacarc[@]
RM E-mail: recordsmgt[@]
Phone: (650)926-3091
Post: SLAC Archives and History Office, M/S 82, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Office Location: Bldg.50, Rm.122

Dick Taylor Story

My first meeting with Dick Taylor was back in the late 70's when I was developing a polarized electron source for a nuclear parity violation experiment of relevance to Z exchange between Up and Down Quarks, that was of interest for the Standard Model at the time. I knew that a GaAs photoemission source had been developed at SLAC and I contacted Dick to obtain some information about it. At the time I was working at the Chalk River Nuclear Labs in Ontario, Canada.

Although I had never met him before, Dick immediately suggested that I visit SLAC to be introduced to the scientists working on source development, particularly Charlie Sinclair. When I arrived, Dick was a great host, including having me to his home for dinner. He also went out of his way to make sure that I obtained all of the information that I needed to proceed with the project, including construction drawings for the SLAC source. We were intending to develop a high intensity continuous beam version of the source and so this was of some general interest at SLAC as we were extending their pulsed version but Dick was really just trying to help us with a fundamental science experiment.

The assistance that we received from Dick and Charlie was very valuable then and later. We proceeded to construct a source based on the SLAC drawings and achieved the high intensity polarized electron beam that we used to produce circularly polarized bremmstrahlung for the photodisintegration of deuterium. The experiment was a success and the source was further used at the MIT Linac after we completed our work.

I think that Dick was particularly pleased to be assisting an experiment based in Canada and followed our progress subsequently, as he did with the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) project. I met him a number of times thereafter and found that he was very knowledgeable and influential with regard to governmental support of basic science in Canada. He maintained many Canadian connections.

He phoned me when I subsequently won the Nobel Prize for the SNO experiment and was genuinely pleased to see the prize awarded for work done in Canada. He also gave me various pieces of advice about winning the Nobel Prize in his usual "gruff but heart of gold" approach to things. One of the best was: "Now the general public will assume that you know everything about everything. You donít!" Another was: "One of the nicest aspects of it is that you will hear from many people that you haven't heard from since grade school". Another indication of Dick's pleasure in maintaining his old connections.

We have lost a unique individual and I am honored to be able to contribute to this memorial to a man that I respected very much.

Art McDonald
2015 Physics Nobel Laureate