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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

University of California-Berkeley

The “Rad Lab” was the short name for the Radiological Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Its director was Nobel laureate Ernest O. Lawrence. He gained recognition for his 60″ cyclotron,  a type of particle accelerator first invented in the early 1930s. Known as “atom smashers,” cyclotrons accelerate atoms through a vaccuum and use electromagnets to induce collisions at speeds up to 25,000 miles per second. The results of such experiments provided valuable clues about the behavior of atoms and was the driving force behind the electromagnetic separation of uranium that formed the basis for the Y-12 complex at Oak Ridge. In addition, Berkeley was the center for theoretical physics in the United States and spawned such notables as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Glenn Seaborg, and Emilio Segrè.

Berkeley CA, 94720 US