Nobel Laureate Joseph H. Taylor, Jr.: Scientific Discovery Is also a Religious Discovery

Author/Compiler: Tihomir Dimitrov (; also see


Nobel Prize: Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. (born 1941) received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the first known binary pulsar, and for his work, which supported the Big Bang theory of the creation of the Universe.

Nationality: American

Education: Ph.D. in astronomy, Harvard University, 1968

Occupation: Professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1969-1981) and Princeton University (1986 – present)


1. “A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.” (Taylor, as cited in Brown 2002).

2. To the question, “Would you care to tell me about your relationship to religion?” Prof. Taylor replied:

“We are active in the Religious Society of Friends, that is, the Quakers and it's been an important part of our lives, more so for my wife and me than for our children. My wife and I spend time with our faith group; it’s a way for us to make connections with our philosophical views on life, why we are on the Earth, and what we can do for others.

The Quakers are a group of Christians who believe that there can be direct communication between an individual and the Spirit, which we may call God. By contemplation and deep inward looking one can effectively commune with this Spirit and to learn things about oneself and about the way one should conduct oneself on Earth.

The group believes that war is not the way to settle differences and that peaceful ways are more likely to be lasting. Quakers have refused fighting wars but have been willing to serve their nations in other capacities.

We believe that there is something of God in every person and therefore human life is sacrosanct and one needs to look for the depth of spiritual presence in others, even in others with whom you disagree.” (Taylor, as cited in Candid Science IV: Conversations with Famous Physicists by Istvan Hargittai, London, Imperial College Press, 2004, 665-666).