Moddie Daniel Taylor (1912-1976) was an African American chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project from 1943-1945.
Taylor was born in Nymph, Alabama on March 3, 1912. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from Lincoln University in 1935, where he was the valedictorian of his class and graduated summa cum laude. The same year he began his teaching career, working at Lincoln University as a chemistry instructor until 1939. Taylor went on to serve as an assistant professor of chemistry at Lincoln from 1939-1941 while enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, where he earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in 1939 and 1943, respectively.
Taylor worked as an associate chemist on the Manhattan Project from 1943-1945 at the University of Chicago’s Met Lab. His research focused on analyzing the chemical properties of rare earth metals.
In 1946 Secretary of War Robert Patterson awarded Dr. Taylor a Certificate of Merit for his research and contributions to the Manhattan Project.
Dr. Taylor returned to Lincoln University following the end of the war until 1948, when he became a chemistry professor at Howard University. He later chaired the Chemistry Department from 1969-1976. In 1956, Dr. Taylor received a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Science to continue his research in acid-base studies of disassociation in gaseous systems.
In 1960, he published a textbook entitled First Principles of Chemistry, which went on to become a core textbook used in colleges throughout the United States. That same year, Dr. Taylor was selected by the Manufacturing Chemists Association as one of the nation's six top college chemistry professors. He was given the Honor Scroll from the Washington Institute of Chemists for his research and teaching in 1972.
He was also a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a fellow of both the American Institute of Chemists and Washington Academy for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Taylor retired from Howard on April 1, 1976. He died on September 15, 1976 in Washington, DC.