Lawrence - Cyclotron
8, 1901 , Canton, South Dakota
died Aug. 27, 1958 , Palo Alto,
Lawrence, was an American physicist and Nobel laureate, best known for
his invention and development of the cyclotron, a device to accelerate
nuclear particles and used in the discovery of the transuranium elements.
The cyclotron, led to the development of particle physics and revolutionary
discoveries about the nature of the universe. Ernest Lawrence was born
in Canton, South Dakota and educated at the universities of South Dakota,
Minnesota, and Chicago and at Yale University. Lawrence founded the Lawrence
Berkeley Lab, the oldest of the national laboratories, in 1931. He was
awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics and the Enrico
Fermi Award in 1957. Photo
The invention that would rocket Ernest
Lawrence to international fame started out modestly as a sketch on a scrap
of paper. While sitting in the library one evening, Lawrence happened to
glance over a journal article and was intrigued by one of the diagrams.
The idea was to produce very high energy particles required for atomic
disintegration by means of a succession of very small "pushes." Ernest
Lawrence told his colleagues that he had found a method for obtaining particles
of very high energy, without the use of any high voltage. The idea was
surprisingly simple, but Lawrence double-checked his theory with physicists
from Yale to make sure he had not overlooked a critical detail.
The first model of Lawrence's cyclotron
was made out of wire and sealing wax and probably cost $25 in all. And
it worked - when Lawrence applied 2,000 volts of electricity to his make-shift
cyclotron, he got 80,000-volt projectiles spinning around. He had discovered
a way to "smash" atoms, and in doing so he unwittingly paved the way for
the U.S. nuclear weapons program that was to follow a decade later.
and Enrico Fermi
Ernest Lawrence and Enrico
Fermi seemed to live parallel lives. They were born only a month apart,
though an ocean away - Ernest Lawrence in South Dakota and Enrico Fermi
in Rome, Italy. Both Lawrence and Fermi became interested in physics at
an early age; both won Nobel Prizes only a year apart for work related
to the discovery of radioactive elements; both contributed significantly
as leaders in winning the science war during World War II; and sadly, both
died premature deaths—Fermi was only 54 years old and Lawrence was 57.
But this was not the end of their
similarities. Prestigious science awards were established as memorials
for both Fermi and Lawrence by President Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy
Commission, now the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Fermi Award is for lifetime achievements
of internationally recognized scientists; the Lawrence Award recognizes
relatively recent achievements and excellence in nuclear science and technology,
and, as Lawrence did, it also encourages and supports the careers of scientists
and engineers who show exceptional promise for the future.
Ernest Lawrence was the second-ever
recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award in 1957, just a year before his death,
and Lawrence's own memorial award was established a year after his death
Lawrence - Cyclotron
Ernest Lawrence invented the
cyclotron, a device that greatly increased the speed with which projectiles
could be hurled at atomic nuclei - National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Lawrence Physicist, Engineer, Statesman of Science
His cyclotron was to nuclear science
what Galileo's telescope was to astronomy. Longer biography.
Lawrence - Timeline
American physicist, winner of the
1939 Nobel Prize for Physics for his invention of the cyclotron, the first
particle accelerator to achieve high energies.
Orlando Lawrence (1901-1958)
Besides the Cyclotron, Ernest Orlando
Lawrence pioneered the use of radiation to combat cancer (he successfully
treated hyperthyroid), and paved the way for the isolation of Uranium-235
(which allowed the U.S. to create the atomic bomb).
More About The Cyclotron
The motivation for most of the development
of the various types of particle accelerators has been their application
to research into the properties of atomic nuclei and subatomic particles.
Definition of a Cyclotron
A cyclotron is any of a class of
devices that accelerates charged atomic or subatomic particles in a constant
magnetic field. The first particle accelerator of this type was developed
in the early 1930s by the American physicists Ernest O. Lawrence and M.
Stanley Livingston. For many years the highest particle energies were those
imparted by cyclotrons modeled upon Lawrence's archetype. - britannica
Inventors - L
partial information provided by Lawrence
Berkeley Lab and the U.S. Department of Science
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