Winner of the 1939 Nobel Prize for Physics Ernest O. Lawrence examining 37-1/2 inch vacuum chamber with the lid removed.

Lawrence invented the cyclotron, a particle accelerator that ushered in a new era of physics. By whirling particles around to boost their energies and smashing them into a target, researchers could study atomic nuclei.

Group of individuals at the Berkeley Lab 184-inch cyclotron site.

Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory or “Rad Lab” evolved into what is now the multi-disciplinary Berkeley Lab. Lawrence established the practice of team science for complex challenges, encouraging contributions from people across disciplines and roles in pursuit of breakthroughs.

Telegram from the Western Union announcing a Nobel Prize.

Lawrence received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for “the invention and development of the cyclotron and for results obtained with it, especially with regard to artificial radioactive elements.”

Ernest Orlando Lawrence and Edwin McMillan at the canteen by Coke machine.

Explore hundreds of images of Lawrence’s personal and professional life in the Berkeley Lab archive.