Ernest Lawrence marker

Ernest Lawrence marker in the columbarium

Ernest Lawrence was born on August 8, 1901, and died of complications from ulcerative colitis on August 27, 1958. He is interred along with his wife, Mary “Molly” Lawrence, and his parents, Carl and Gunda Lawrence at the Oakland Crematorium and Columbarium.

Ernest Lawrence was the winner of the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cyclotron. He also founded the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Ernest Lawrence and family at the Nobel Prize ceremony
Lawrence and family at the UC Berkeley special ceremony for his receipt of the Nobel Prize. (Left to right): Mary “Molly” Lawrence (his wife), Ernest Lawrence, Gunda Lawrence (his mother), John Lawrence (his brother), and Carl Lawrence (his father). Photo courtesy of Berkeley Lab.

Building upon the cyclotron, Lawrence’s calutrons — hybrids of the cyclotron and a mass spectrometer — were created for the the Manhattan Project for electromagnetic separation of uranium isotopes. The Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge, containing these massive calutrons “racetracks” using over 14,700 tons of silver, enriched the uranium-235 and shipped the first few hundred grams to Los Alamos laboratory in March 1944.

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