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Portrait of Ernest Lawrence in 1939

Portrait of Ernest Lawrence in 1939

H412/0116

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Portrait of Ernest Orlando Lawrence (1901-58), American physicist, in 1939. Lawrence studied at the University of South Dakota, and gained his PhD in physics from Yale in 1925. In 1930, he invented the cyclotron, a device where a magnetic field is used to make protons move in a circle, adding an accelerating 'kick' of energy at each rotation. This acceleration builds up rapidly until the proton has acquired a massive energy, useful for atomic bombardment experiments. As a result, Lawrence was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize for physics. During the war he was part of the Manhattan Project developing the first atomic bomb, and in 1957 was awarded the Fermi Prize.

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