Symposium will celebrate USD’s Lawrence brothers

Symposium will celebrate USD's Lawrence brothers Two of The University of South Dakota's most illustrious graduats were brothers Ernest and John Lawrence from Canton. They left the campus in the 1920s and went on to earn international reputations in the field of science. One became a Nobel Prize winner in physics and the other became known as the "Father of Nuclear Medicine."

Their legacy will be honored and celebrated in a special Lawrence Symposium, "The Physics of Life," on Monday, Dec. 10, at USD. The symposium begins at 8:45 a.m. with coffee in Farber Hall, followed by a welcome from USD President James W. Abbott.

Two keynote physics lectures will be presented. Dr. Kenneth Lande, professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania, will speak at 10:30 a.m. Lande has been conducting solar neutrino studies at the Homestake Mine in Lead. Dr. Stephen Holmes, physicist and associate director for accelerators at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, will present his lecture at 7:30 p.m.

The event also includes a series of lectures of interest to the non-science community. Guests will include Sioux Falls native, Dr. Robert Berdahl, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. Berdahl, whose father was a USD classmate of Ernest Lawrence, will speak on "The Lawrence Legacy."

Jerry Wilson, managing editor of South Dakota Magazine, will present remarks on "The Lawrence Brothers at USD." Representatives of the Lawrence family will also be on hand to participate in a special announcement of the Lawrence Science Camp.

A lunch and dinner are also scheduled. There is no charge for the noon buffet and the cost of the 6 p.m. dinner is $10. To pre-register for the meals call Koree Khongphand-Buckman at 605-677-8896.

Ernest O. Lawrence, class of 1922, continued his studies at the University of Minnesota and at Yale University before eventually settling at the University of California at Berkeley (UC-Berkeley), where he became a celebrated full professor at age 29. In 1929 he conceived the idea of the cyclotron, or "atom smasher," which revolutionized research in both biology and medicine and led to his winning the Nobel Prize in 1939. An element on the periodic chart, Lawrencium, is named after him.

John H. Lawrence, class of 1926, completed his medical education at Harvard University and spent several years at Yale University in post-doctoral work and as an instructor in internal medicine. He eventually moved to UC-Berkeley where much of his pioneering medical research in nuclear medicine was in collaboration with his brother.

For information please contact Kent Scribner, USD Foundation Office at (605) 677-6703 or, or Royce Engstrom, Office of Research and Graduate Education at (605) 677-5370 or

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