Ernest Orlando Lawrence (1901-1958)


American physicist, was born in August 8th 1901, in Canton, and died in Palo Alto, California, in August 27th 1958.

Studied in St. Olaf College, in the University of Minnesota, in the University of Chicago and in the University of Yale. In 1928, entered the University of California as Associate Professor of Physics. In 1930, was appointed professor and in 1936 became director of the Radiation Laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley. This institution, now called Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, became an important research center of Nuclear and Particle Physics.

Lawrence is known for his development of the cyclotron, an instrument that accelerates charged atoms at high-speed, to accomplish nuclear transmutations. With his coworker Milton Livingston, Lawrence built the first cyclotron in 1930, although he had already proposed the idea in an article two years before. The cyclotron is one of the main instruments for studying atomic nuclei and elementary particles.

Ernest Lawrence received the American Medal of Merit, the Physics Nobel Prize in 1939 and Fermi Award in 1957.