Taylor, Theodore B(rewster) 1925-2004
TAYLOR, Theodore B(rewster) 1925-2004
OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born July 11, 1925, in Mexico City, Mexico; died of heart disease October 28, 2004, in Silver Spring, MD. Theoretical physicist, activist, and author. Taylor was a former Los Alamos nuclear weapons developer who later became an anti-nuclear activist. Fascinated by science from a young age after being given a chemistry set at the age of ten, Taylor took only three years to graduate from the California Institute of Technology with a B.S. in 1945. During this time, he also served in the U.S. Navy. After World War II, he returned to college, but flunked out of graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley because he did not pass subjects that did not interest him. Nevertheless, his brilliance in physics was recognized by Robert Serber at the university, and he got Taylor a job at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in 1949. For the next seven years, the physicist became noted for finding ways to create effective nuclear devices that were very small. His Davy Crockett bomb, for example, weighed only fifty pounds, compared to the nine-thousand-pound bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945; he also developed the powerful Super Oralloy Bomb (SOB). In 1956, he joined General Dynamics to work on a spaceship that was to be powered by nuclear explosions. Called Project Orion, the effort was cancelled when a ban on exploding nuclear devices in space was passed in 1963. Hired by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1964 as a senior research advisor, Taylor suddenly became very aware of the dangers caused by nuclear proliferation. With literally thousands of nuclear warheads being produced and transported, a huge danger was arising: the possibility that some of these weapons could be stolen. Taylor, who once supported the production of atomic bombs as a deterrent to war, had a change of heart and became an anti-nuclear-weapons campaigner. He founded the International Research and Technology Corp. in 1967 and Nova Inc., the former a consulting firm and the latter a company that worked on developing alternative, clean energy sources. In 1980 he also became president of Holosolar Corp. and the Appropriate Solar Technology Institute, and in 1990 he was named president of the Southern Tier Environmental Protection Society. In addition, he was active on advisory boards for other energy concerns, such as the Center for Renewable Resources. Taylor authored or cowrote several books, including The Restoration of the Earth (1973), Nuclear Proliferation (1977), and Energy: The Next Twenty Years (1979).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2004, p. B19.
New York Times, November 5, 2004, p. A21.
Times (London, England), November 8, 2004, p. 54.
Washington Post, November 2, 2004, p. B6.