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An American Genius: The Life of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Father of the Cyclotron Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: E. P. Dutton; 1st edition (January 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052505443X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525054436
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,306,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am Lawrence's great-nephew, or one of them (there weren't that many), and this is an excellent book on probably the greatest of America's early 20th century physicists, who won the Nobel Prize in 1939 in Physics for the invention of the cyclotron, the first atom smasher. Lawrence went on to make many other important discoveries, including creating Technetium, the first atomic element to be made artificially, inventing the first atomic clock, and also the first color TV tube.

With the cyclotron, Lawrence produced radioactive phosphorus and other isotopes for medical use, including radioactive iodine for the first medical treatment of hyperthyroid conditions. In addition, he was the first to use neutron beams in treating cancer.

The giant Bevatron collider he created at U.C. synthesized the Plutonium that went into the Fat Man bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. He founded Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and later Lawrence Livermore Labs. Later, he was appointed by president Eisenhower to head the American delegation to Geneva to negotiate the first Soviet American nuclear weapons test ban. He was truly a many-sided genius who died all too young at the age of 57.

The book by Nuell Pharr Davis is less flattering toward my famous great-uncle than toward Oppenheimer, but it presents another view if you're interested. Another book is Greg Herken's, The Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Secret Lives of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller, which gives a dramatic account of how these three influential physicists worked, competed, and in the case Teller and Oppenheimer, ultimately betrayed one another.
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