William M. Layson (PhD ’63)
The Presidential Fellowships in Physics

by Elizabeth Chadis // MIT Physics Annual 2002

Bill Layson learns the art of shucking coconuts on the road to Hué, Vietnam, during an October 2001 MIT alumni tour.

“I think of physical science as an intellectual structure, much like a brick wall,” says Bill Layson PhD ’63. “Each of the bricks placed earlier supports those which are placed later.”

Recently retired as Senior Vice President of Science Applications International Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, Bill feels the best way he can contribute to that structure is through “a surrogate—a young physicist who must have some resources in order to make his contribution to the structure.”

MIT taught me the experimental process for problem solving. It works in business and it works in physics. I would encourage all young physicists to keep their focus on physics for as long as possible. The deeper you dig the more rewarding it will be, for few things can be more satisfying than research.

William M. Layson (Ph.D. ’63)

William M. Layson has endowed a Presidential Fellowship in physics—a stipend and tuition grant that enables a young physicist to contribute to the structure without restriction as to research area. “I take great pleasure in the thought that this young physicist’s research might make the structure more complete,” says Layson.