Ernest O. Lawrence (1901-1958) helped elevate American physics to world leadership. His invention of the cyclotron, an accelerator of subatomic particles, won him the Nobel Prize in 1939. His entrepreneurial development of the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley ushered in the era of "Big Science." During World War II Lawrence and his machines took part in the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bombs. In the early Cold War years he played a key role in forging a new relationship between science and the federal government and in the establishment of a system of National Laboratories, two of which now bear his name.
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