Newtonian Innovator

Ernest O. Lawrence (1901–1958) - Ernest O. Lawrence

Ernest O. Lawrence (1901–1958): Ernest O. Lawrence was an American physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Phyics in 1939.  Best known for inventing the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator that became a vital tool in both physics and nuclear medicine. Born in the early 20th century, Lawrence’s cyclotron used a strong magnetic field to accelerate charged particles along a spiral path achieving energies sufficient to dislodge protons or neutrons from the nucleus of an atom. This marked an advancement in the field of nuclear physics which opened the door for explorations into the structure of the atomic nucleus and leading to the discovery of many new isotopes. In the field of medicine, the cyclotron’s ability to produce radioactive isotopes was critical for both diagnostic procedures and treatment particularly in cancer therapy.