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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

I met Dick for the first time in 1963 when I was an undergraduate at Orsay doing a master thesis at LAL with Pierre Lehmann. I remember vividly Dick's seminar on the status of the construction of SLAC. He impressed me very much as a physicist, but also physically as a big person with a loud voice. He was then on a short visit, one of many to follow, and he knew the lab and everyone well as he had been there as a postdoc a few years before. The lab benefited a great deal from this energetic and experienced young fellow and several older colleagues remember this period with him which did not go unnoticed. Also Rita helped a great deal setting up our library which was very important for the development of the lab.

Dick always provided me with good advice. First when I was a graduate student doing my PhD at SLAC with Bob Mozley who, incidentally, had been also Dick's thesis advisor. Joining the SLAC faculty in 1970, I had then plenty of opportunities to discuss with Dick. Despite being very direct, seemingly a bit rough, I was very fond of him and found that it was reciprocal. Deep inside he was quite a sentimental person, caring truly for others.

I left SLAC in 1975 to take a professorship in Paris and eventually became the LAL director. Dick visited many times and joined our H1 group providing wise guidance. One favorite attraction was his enjoyment of quality French cuisine for which he was also an expert with high standards. And I rarely failed taking him to good places. One particular occasion was in December 1990 when Rita and Dick stopped for a few days in Paris just before going to Stockholm to receive his Nobel prize. We were all very proud of him and his textbook scientific achievement.

I believe his last visit to Orsay was for the 50-year celebration of the lab in 2007 where he was happy to meet the old friends and we were proud to have him among us. I continued seing him from time to time when I visited SLAC. Probably on the last one I remember congratulating him on looking well to what he replied, with his usual laugh "That's the outside, you should see the inside!"

When I was awarded the Lagarrigue prize in 2010 he kindly recorded, together with Burt Richter and Martin Perl, a video which was a great honor for me. The nice words spoken by Dick remain a treasure of friendship I will never forget.

It is impossible to remember Dick without including Rita. As one often hears, behind every great man there is a great woman. This certainly applies well to Dick and Rita. My thoughts go to her in this very sad moment.

Michel Davier