Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1939
Ernest Lawrence

Share this:

Ernest Lawrence - Facts

Ernest Orlando Lawrence

Ernest Orlando Lawrence

Born: 8 August 1901, Canton, SD, USA

Died: 27 August 1958, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Prize motivation: "for the invention and development of the cyclotron and for results obtained with it, especially with regard to artificial radioactive elements"

Field: accelerator physics, instrumentation

Prize share: 1/1

Invented the Cyclotron

If the nuclei of atoms are bombarded by beams of particles, such as protons, the atoms can be transformed into different variants of the element with different masses, so-called isotopes. The likelihood that particles can penetrate the atomic nucleus and bring about a nuclear reaction increases if the bombarding particles have a high velocity. In 1929 Ernest Lawrence developed an apparatus known as a cyclotron that used electrical and magnetic fields to accelerate protons to high velocities in a spiral-shaped path before they collide with their target.

Share this:
To cite this page
MLA style: "Ernest Lawrence - Facts". Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 5 May 2016. <>