1901 Ernest Orlando Lawrence born August 8 in Canton, South Dakota.
1923 earns M.A. in physics, University of Minnesota.
1925 earns Ph.D. in physics, Yale University.
1928 Lawrence, an assistant professor of physics at Yale, is recruited as associate professor by the University of California.
1929 conceives the principle of the cyclotron.
1930 at 29, becomes UC's youngest professor; his student Edlefsen builds a working model of the cyclotron, and Lawrence describes the principle to the National Academy of Sciences.
1931 in August, his student Livingston's 11-inch version of the cyclotron accelerates protons to 1.1 million MeV; that month UC President Sproul gives Lawrence the former Civil Engineering Test Facility on campus ("a shack") for use as a radiation laboratory.
1932 marries Mary "Molly" Blumer in New Haven, Connecticut, in May (eventually they have six children); cyclotrons are first used for actual research, including the acceleration of deuterium nuclei (hydrogen-2).
1933 attends the distinguished Solvay Congress in Brussels, the only American invited that year and only the eighth ever; he announces that deuterons are unstable but later retracts this.
1934 Lawrence's "fruitful error" regarding deuterium inspires Alvarez's unexpected discovery, using the 60-inch cyclotron, that tritium (hydrogen-3) is unstable but helium-3 is stable.
1935 Lawrence's younger brother John, a medical doctor, joins the laboratory and initiates research in nuclear medicine.
1936 the Radiation Laboratory is officially established within the UC Physics Department with Lawrence as director; in Italy, Segrè examines an "invaluable gift" of material irradiated by the 27-inch cyclotron and discovers the first artificial element, later named technetium.
1937 Seaborg joins the Rad Lab and "puts the chemistry in nuclear chemistry."
1939 Lawrence wins the Nobel Prize for the invention of the cyclotron and his work on artificial radioactivity.
1940 using cyclotrons, Kamen and Ruben discover carbon-14; McMillan and Abelson discover neptunium; Seaborg, McMillan, Kennedy, and Wahl discover plutonium; the foundation of the 184-Inch Cyclotron is poured in a cow pasture above the UC campus.
1941 the Radiation Laboratory turns to defense work.
1946 the 184-Inch Cyclotron is completed as the Synchro-Cyclotron.
1947 Calvin uses carbon-14 as tracer to study photosynthesis.
1948 the 184-Inch Synchro-Cyclotron produces muons and pions artificially; Alvarez invents the proton linac.
1950 Anger invents the scintillation camera ("Anger camera"); Lawrence and Alvarez establish a research facility at Livermore Naval Air Station to convert uranium to plutonium with proton linacs.
1952 the Livermore site of the Radiation Laboratory is established as the nation's second weapons laboratory (later the Berkeley site excludes classified research).
1953 Glaser, inspired by bubbles in a glass of beer, invents the bubble chamber and detects cosmic-ray muons.
1954 the Bevatron is completed and Alvarez's liquid-hydrogen version of the bubble chamber is installed.
1955 at the Bevatron Segrè, Chamberlain, and others discover the antiproton; many other subatomic particles are detected.
1957 the SuperHILAC is commissioned for heavy-ion research.
1958 Eisenhower assigns Lawrence as technical advisor to nuclear
test-ban talks in Geneva; he attends despite illness, is rushed back to
U.S. and is hospitalized at Stanford, where he dies of complications of
colitis on August 27. UC Regents name the "Lawrence Radiation Laboratory"
in his honor.