Ernest Lawrence is the eldest son of Karl and Gonda Lawrence, both educators of Norwegian origin. He grew up around people who later became successful scientists: his brother John worked with him on the medical applications of cyclotrons, and his best friend in childhood, Mel Tuff, was a pioneering physicist. Lawrence studied at Guangzhou High School, then at St. Olaf College in Minnesota for a year, and then transferred to the University of South Dakota. There, he received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and graduated in 1922. Initially, Lawrence was a preparatory student. Encouraged by Lewis Ackley, he transferred to physics. Lewis Ackley is the president and professor of physics and chemistry of the university. As an influential figure in Lawrence’s life, President Ackley’s photograph will later hang on the wall of Lawrence’s office, where famous scientists such as Neil Bohr and Ernest Rutherford are in the gallery. Lawrence received his master’s degree in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1923 and his doctorate from Yale University in 1925. He stayed at Yale for another three years, first as a researcher, then as an assistant professor, and in 1928 became an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1930, Lawrence, 29, became Berkeley’s “full professor” – the youngest teacher ever to win the title. Lawrence studied the charts in a paper by Norwegian Engineer Rolf Videro and came up with the idea of cyclotron. Wideroe’s paper describes a device that generates energetic particles by “pushing” between two linear electrodes. However, accelerating the particles to sufficiently high energy for research would require too long a linear electrode to accommodate in the laboratory. Lawrence realized that a circular accelerator, rather than a linear accelerator, could use a similar method to accelerate the spiral pattern of charged particles. Lawrence and some of his first graduate students developed cyclotrons, including Niels Edlevson and Stanley Livingston. Edlefsen helped develop the first proof of concept for cyclotrons: a 10-centimeter circular device made of bronze, wax and glass. Subsequently, the cyclotron is larger and can accelerate particles to higher and higher energies. The cyclotron completed in 1946 was about 50 times larger than the first. It needs a magnet weighing 4,000 tons and a building 160 feet in diameter and 100 feet in height. During World War II, Lawrence worked on the Manhattan Project to help develop the atomic bomb. Atomic bombs require a fissile uranium isotope, uranium-235, and need to be separated from uranium-238. Lawrence proposed that the two isotopes could be separated because of their small mass differences. A working device called “calutrons” was developed to separate the two isotopes electromagnetically.