Berkeley Lab Research Review



"The day when the scientist, no matter how devoted, may make significant progress
alone and without material help is past."

— E.O. Lawrence
accepting his Nobel Prize.
  rnest Orlando Lawrence (1901-1958) won the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator the size of a shoebox that was the forerunner to all of the most powerful accelerators in the world today. Lawrence's cyclotron opened the door to modern high-energy physics, but his most enduring legacy was his unique approach to doing scientific research. Lawrence believed that scientific progress was best achieved through teams of scientists with different fields of expertise. It was also his conviction that engineers should be included as full partners on these teams. Guided by this belief, he founded his Radiation Laboratory in an old wooden building on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. Nine years later, he moved his laboratory to its present location on the hills above the campus in order to construct the 184-Inch Cyclotron. Upon his death in 1958, the laboratory he founded was renamed in his honor. Lawrence's teamwork concept remains the hallmark of how science is done at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This legacy from its founding father has yielded rich dividends in basic knowledge and applied technology, and a profusion of awards, including nine Nobel Prizes-five in physics and four in chemistry. "It goes without saying that it is the laboratory that is honored," E.O. Lawrence said, upon being informed of his Nobel Prize.
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