Baker’s Dozen: Noah Taylor


Maroon News

Noah Taylor

Laura Mucha, Maroon-News Staff

Noah Taylor, a history and physics double major from Randolph, NJ, held up his phone and showed me his screensaver. It is a black and white photograph of Harry S. Truman waving his fist in the air, his hand curled in the clamshell position favored by politicians of the mid-twentieth century. Taylor could hardly contain his glee. “Harry S. Truman’s middle name is just ‘S.’ That’s like the best history fact ever,” he said. 

There is a similarly esoteric joy to all of Taylor’s interests. Last spring, for example, he wrote his history thesis on tiger hunting and masculinity in eighteenth-century India. He insisted on calling the animals “tigey bois” the entire semester, and once took me to the Victoria and Albert Museum just so we could look at Tipu’s Tiger, an automaton of a tiger mauling a British soldier. As we stood in front of the glass case, he laughed, a sharp cackle that cut through the stodgy museum silence, and then said, “Honestly, I hope I can be this petty one day.” 

Aside from his interest in “tigey bois,” Taylor loves physics and plans to become an engineer after graduation. 

“I love being a physics major,” Taylor said. “It gives me the freedom to approach a problem from any angle. Take Maxwell’s equation. I can derive it in a million different ways and it’s still true. That is very neat.” 

However, the course material is not solely why Taylor stuck with physics. 

“There is a strong physics community,” he said. “I can’t motivate myself to do things. I like to talk out heavy ideas, and working with other students in the physics department has allowed me to do so.” 

He paused for a moment, then laughed. 

“I’m revealing my desperate character right now. I just want someone to love me!” 

Taylor’s appreciation for conversation is not limited to his physics friends. He is an intensely people-driven individual and takes great care in making those around him feel recognized. 

“I think I have a new life motto,” Taylor said when asked about his favorite communities on campus. “Any group of people is good if people participate. I love people who commit.” 

Ask any upperclassman on this campus and they will tell you: Taylor is someone who commits, wholeheartedly and with a uniquely Taylor-ian panache, to everything and everyone in his life. Perhaps my assessment is biased: Taylor is the first friend I made in college. 

We met on our Wilderness Adventure pre-orientation program, when he wore bright purple sunglasses and queued an entire Lana Del Ray album for our van ride to the Adirondacks. Later that night, he made me laugh in our tent, and I realized that Colgate could feel like home if I had people like Taylor by my side. 

We’ve since seen each other almost every day for four years and, as our time here together draws to a close, I’ve realized just how rare it is to encounter someone as singularly spectacular as Taylor. He reminds me that there is always a joke to be made, a Coop sandwich to be eaten and a friendship to be had.