The Scientists

I thought I should say something special about Luis Alvarez because he was an extraordinary scientist at this time. He joined the Laboratory in 1936.
Alvarez with personally built electronics and BF-3 ionization chamber Glenn T. Seaborg journal excerpt, April 15, 1938. Discovery of electron capture decay by Luis W. Alvarez. Four future presidents of the American Physical Society. Left to right: Alvarez, Robert Oppenheimer, Willy Fowler and Bob Serber (1938)

Here's a picture of him with a neutron counter taken in 1938. He is responsible for a large number of discoveries.Here is a note from my journal of April 15, 1938. I've kept a journal since January 1, 1927. Here is my description of a paper I had just read in which he discovered decay by electron capture. He is the discoverer of that method of decay. Here is a picture taken in 1938 of Luis Alvarez with Robert Oppenheimer, Willie Fowler of Cal Tech, and Bob Serber of the Radiation Lab at that time.

Alvarez receives the Nobel Prize for Physics from King Gustav VI with Princess Christina looking on (1968). Asteroid Impact research team (1969). Left to right: Helen Michel, Frank Asaro, Walter Alvarez and Luis Alvarez.
Here is a picture of Luis Alvarez receiving the Nobel Prize from King Gustaf VI of Sweden on December 10, 1968, for his work on the hydrogen bubble chamber and its application to the characterization of a number of fundamental elementary particles. Here is a later picture I thought I'd include to show his versatility, and that has to do with his idea of the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago by an asteroid. Here's Luis with his son Walter and Frank Asaro and Helen Michel.

Radiocarbon dating. Kamen and Ruben.
Here are just a few other discoveries of about this time. The discovery by Kamen and Ruben in 1940 of the famous carbon-14 that has such a tremendous impact as a tracer in studying photosynthesis and biological processes and so forth, and [radio-carbon]dating, as developed by Willard Libby and his co-worker Jim Arnold beginning in 1950. Here's a picture of Sam Ruben, taken about that time (1940), and of Martin Kamen who, by the way, received the $100,000 Fermi award just this year. Here's a picture of Melvin Calvin who used carbon-14 after the war to work out the photosynthesis process for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1961.

Sam Ruben at work in the Rat House, University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Martin Kamen. Melvin Calvin doing early photosynthesis in the old Radiation Laboratory, circa 1948.

Radioistopes discovered at LBL commonly used in nuclear medicine


Here's a number of radioisotopes discovered at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory commonly used in nuclear medicine. I won't stop there, but I was involved in the discovery of a number of these. In fact the isotopes that I was involved in the discovery of, used in nuclear medicine, are used some 10 million times a year now in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. In fact, one of them saved my mother's life, iodine-131. She had a fatal hyperthyroid condition and she was diagnosed and treated with iodine-131 as were George Bush and Barbara Bush who, as you know, are suffering from Graves' disease.

Joseph Hamilton radiosodium experiment
I thought I must show a picture of Joe Hamilton here, who is working with sodium-24. He is one of the first to work out these processes for the use of radioisotopes here at the Laboratory in nuclear medicine.