Brothers shared a unique, lasting bond by David Lias They shared a genius that has left the world with a unique scientific legacy.
But before they ever stepped into a classroom or a laboratory, they each possessed something even more important.
They were family. They were brothers. They were proud South Dakotans.
Two of The University of South Dakota's most illustrious graduates were 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 scientifics contributions were celebrated in a special Lawrence Symposium, "The Physics of Life," held Dec. 10 at USD.
"All of us were raised to be very proud of our background here," said James Lawrence, the son of John Lawrence who today practices medicine in California.
"I often ask myself how two sons who came from a small Midwestern state from second generation Norwegian immigrants and very little financial backing could become such important contributors to the success of our nation," Lawrence said.
He believes the answer lies with the values and self confidence instilled in his father and uncle by their school-teacher parents, Carl and Gunda Lawrence.