Ernest Orlando Lawrence was a pioneering American nuclear scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939 for his invention of the cyclotron. He is known for his work on uranium-isotope separation for the Manhattan Project, as well as for founding the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A graduate of the University of South Dakota and University of Minnesota, Lawrence obtained a PhD in physics at Yale in 1925. In 1928, he was hired as an associate professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, becoming the youngest full professor there two years later. In its library one evening, Lawrence was intrigued by a diagram of an accelerator that produced high-energy particles. He contemplated how it could be made compact, and came up with an idea for a circular accelerating chamber between the poles of an electromagnet. The result was the first cyclotron.
|Born:||Ernest Orlando Lawrence, August 8, 1901, Canton, South Dakota, U.S.|
|Died:||August 27, 1958, Palo Alto, California, U.S.|
|Institutions:||University of California, Berkeley, Yale University|
|Alma mater:||University of South Dakota, B.A, University of Minnesota, M.A, Yale University, Ph.D.|
|Thesis:||The Photoelectric Effect in Potassium Vapor as a Function of the Frequency of the Light (1924)|
|Doctoral students:||Edwin McMillan, Chien-Shiung Wu, Milton S. Livingston, Kenneth Ross MacKenzie, John Reginald Richardson|
|Known for:||Invention of the cyclotron, Manhattan Project|
|Notable awards:||Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1934), Hughes Medal (1937), Elliott Cresson Medal (1937), Comstock Prize in Physics (1938), Nobel Prize in Physics (1939), Duddell Medal and Prize (1940), Holley Medal (1942), Medal for Merit (1946), Officer de la Legion d’Honneur (1948), William Procter Prize (1951), Faraday Medal (1952), Enrico Fermi Award (1957), Sylvanus Thayer Award (1958)|
|Spouse:||Mary K. “Molly” (Blumer) Lawrence (1910–2003), (m. 1932–1958, his death)|
|Children:||2 sons, 4 daughters|
About Ernest Lawrence
American scientist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1939 for inventing the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator. He also developed electromagnetic isotope separation during World War II.
He graduated from the University of Minnesota and completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics at Yale.
He was a big supporter of government funding for large-scale scientific programs following World War II.
He married Mary Blumer in 1932, and they had six children together.
He and Max Planck were both decorated physicists who won Nobel Prizes.
Information related to Ernest Lawrence
- Ernest Lawrence Category
- Winners of the Comstock Prize in Physics
- Accelerator physicists
- Enrico Fermi Award recipients
- Medal for Merit recipients
- Mass spectrometrists
- Foreign Fellows of the Indian National Science Academy
- University of South Dakota alumni
- American people of World War II
- Nobel laureates in Physics
- Experimental physicists
- American nuclear physicists
- American Nobel laureates
- Manhattan Project people
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