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Images from Eight Decades: the 1930s

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Ernest Orlando Lawrence came to UC Berkeley in 1928 and the following year invented the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that paved the way for the future giant atom smashers of high-energy physics.  In 1931, he opened his “Rad Lab” at the former Civil Engineering Testing Laboratory adjacent to Le Conte Hall.  Together with his brother, the physician John Lawrence, and a cast of scientific notables, Lawrence built increasingly larger cyclotrons and expanded the use of these machines from unlocking the secrets inside the atom to creating radioisotopes for medical research.  For his invention of the cyclotron, Ernest Lawrence won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1939.