Title: Retired Physics Professor
Company: James Madison University
Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States
Gerald Reed Taylor, Jr., PhD, Retired Physics Professor at James Madison University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in physics education.
Dr. Taylor became inspired to pursue a career in science after being introduced to work in plasma and nuclear physics done at Princeton University in the 1950s. Matriculating at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, he achieved a Bachelor of Science in physics in 1959 and a Master of Science in physics in 1961. Additionally, he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in physics from the University of Virginia in 1967.
Notably, Dr. Taylor devoted 40 years to James Madison University as a professor of physics and director of the Center for Material Science. At his request, the University established the Center in 1989 to provide an advanced undergraduate program in materials science and research that would lead students to academic and post-graduation success. Known for his passion and expertise, Dr. Taylor made a considerable impact on his students and had an innate ability to help them meet and exceed their potential in the classroom and laboratory in physics and technology.
Dr. Taylor has been recognized by his peers as a Fellow of the American Association of Physics Teachers and a Fellow of the Virginia Academy of Science. Also, he is a life member of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society. As a teacher and scientist, Dr. Taylor has made numerous presentations and contributed scholarly articles to various scientific journals.
Dr. Taylor most enjoyed working with students doing research. Earlier, between 1960 and 1969, he had been a research physicist at the Linde Division of Union Carbide Corporation investigating magnetic and thermal properties of materials, and an associate physicist at Texaco Experiment Inc. investigating the growth and characteristics of single crystal boron.
In 2017, Dr. Taylor was granted an Endowed Annual Award named in his honor, “The VAS/Gerald R. Taylor Jr. Scholarship,” given to a junior physics major annually in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at James Madison University for 25 years. Additionally, he has received the “Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to the American Association of Physics Teachers”, the “Ivey F. Lewis Distinguished Service Award” and the “J. Shelton Horsley Research Award” from the Virginia Academy of Science. He attributes his success to his students, as he notes that seeing their success has been the greatest honor of his work.
A visionary leader in various community and educational initiatives, Dr. Taylor has served on the Board of Directors of the Shenandoah Valley Habitat for Humanity and the allocations committee of the “Jeffries Memorial Trust and Gwathmey Memorial Trust,” in Bank of America. Now retired, he is the treasurer, a trustee, and board member of the Harrisonburg Kiwanis Foundation. Dr. Taylor is a 40 year “Legion of Honor” member of the Harrisonburg Kiwanis Club. In 2007, he received a Kiwanis International President Award and in 2013, a Kiwanis International George F. Hixon Fellowship.
He has been happily married to his wife Susan for more than 60 years. He attributes his success to her and his family’s support. To attest to his legacy, Dr. Taylor can also be found in the 66, 69 and 70 editions of Who’s Who in America.
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