A clean-cut East Coaster with an economics degree from Haverford College, he found his way to Thorp through his wife, a college friend of Thorp’s daughter. Articulate and socially at ease, Taylor stood out in an office full of scientists and mathematicians, says Jerome Baesel, a finance Ph.D. who helped run the Newport Beach office. Baesel says Taylor looked like a young F. Scott Fitzgerald. Taylor distinguished himself in the work. “He solved some problems in programming that I’m pretty sure a large proportion of the finance professors in the country couldn’t solve,” Baesel says. Soon, Taylor was tapped to handle research for a new arbitrage project, profiting from discrepancies between the prices of stock and convertible bonds. Taylor and Gelbaum began to spend a lot of time together, kicking around ideas.