One of the world’s first working circular particle accelerators returns to Berkeley Lab—75 years later.
Seventy-five years after one of the world’s first working cyclotrons was handed to the London Science Museum, it has returned to its birthplace in the Berkeley hills, where the man who invented it, Ernest O. Lawrence, helped launch the field of modern particle physics as well as the national laboratory that would bear his name, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
On Jan. 9, 1932 the brass cyclotron—which measures 26 inches from end to end and whose accelerating chamber measures just 11 inches in diameter—was successfully used to boost protons to energies of 1.22 million electron volts. Its return to Berkeley Lab caps a decades-long saga in which various parties endeavored to secure the cyclotron’s return from London, but the persistence of Pamela Patterson, who chronicles Berkeley Lab’s history as managing editor of its website, finally paid off. (more…)