AUTHORHiltzik, Michael
TITLEBig Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex
PUBLISHERSimon & Schuster
CITYNew York, NY

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzik chronicles the career of Nobel Laureate E. O. Lawrence to show his role in the evolution of physics from an endeavor typically involving one or a few scientists working in isolation on limited projects to large-scale, expensive projects requiring significant funding and often having important political consequences. Lawrence, an intelligent and energetic physicist, received the 1939 Noble Prize for development of the cyclotron at the University of California, Berkley during the 1930s. This interesting narrative details Lawrence’s talents as both scientist and manager, including his strategies for acquiring the resources required by his ambition for ever-bigger cyclotrons. Lawrence adapted cyclotron technology to develop the calutron, used in the Manhattan Project to separate uranium-235 used for the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The book also follows the relationship of Lawrence with fellow physicist Robert Oppenheimer. The two were close until after World War II, when their views on nuclear weapons caused them to grow apart. The book records the integration of science and politics beginning in the 1930’s and the role played by scientists like Lawrence.

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