Earnest Orlando Lawrence was born in Canton, South Carolina back in 1901 to Carl and Gunda. He attended schools at Canton and Pierre, after graduation he enrolled at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1922. He then enrolled at the University of Minnesota receiving his Master of Arts degree in physics in 1923.
He moved to New Haven, Connecticut where he completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics in 1925. With Jesse Beams from the University of Virginia he continued his research in the photoelectric field. He was hired as an associate professor of physics and the University of California in 1928, two years later he became a full professor. After the outbreak of World War II, he was drawn into military projects. While we all know Oppenheimer and what he had to do with the Manhattan Project, you might add Ernest to that, for in 1939, he invented the cyclotron (a type of particle accelerator) which gave the United States the nuclear particles it needed to produce the atomic bomb.
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