Caltech Trustee Establishes a Professorship in Theoretical Physics

Taylor Lawrence (BS ’86) learned the importance of diversity at Caltech

Published : Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | 5:02 PM

Taylor Lawrence (right) with Gil Refael Credit: Caltech

Growing up in rural Alabama, Caltech trustee Taylor Lawrence (BS ’86) was a self-professed “geeky, physics-and-math-loving kid” who thought of scientists—people like Richard Feynman—as rock stars and Caltech as the stage where they performed thrilling acts of science. Yet, as a high school senior, Lawrence looked to a different stage in the East, which would influence a career spent in service to the nation.

He enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy and studied there for two years until his physics professor encouraged him to apply to Caltech as a transfer student. Lawrence got in and went on to meet many of the scientists he admired. The insights they and other Caltech faculty members shared with Lawrence helped shape his worldview on the importance of diversity of thought and of knowledge that is grounded in facts and data.






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