John H. Lawrence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dr. John H. Lawrence
Born (1904-01-07)January 7, 1904
Canton, South Dakota, United States
Died September 7, 1991(1991-09-07) (aged 87)
Berkeley, California, United States
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Nuclear Medicine
Institutions Harvard University
Donner Laboratory , University of California, Berkeley
Alma mater University of South Dakota
Harvard University
Known for invention of the nuclear medicine
Notable awards Enrico Fermi Award (1983)

John Hundale Lawrence (January 7, 1904 – September 7, 1991) was an American physicist and physician best known for pioneering the field of nuclear medicine.[1]


John Hundale Lawrence was born in Canton, South Dakota. His parents, Carl Gustavus and Gunda Regina (née Jacobson) Lawrence, were both the offspring of Norwegian immigrants who had met while teaching at the high school in Canton, South Dakota, where his father was also the superintendent of schools. His brother was physicist Ernest O. Lawrence. He attended college at the University of South Dakota before getting his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in physics in 1957. [2][3]


He had a long-term association with the University of California, Berkeley and worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There he discovered treatments for leukemia and polycythemia by injecting infected mice with radioactive phosphorus derived from the cyclotron invented by his brother, the Nobel Laureate Ernest O. Lawrence.[4]

Lawrence's work with cancer patients attracted the interest of William Donner, a Philadelphia industrialist and philanthropist, whose son had died of cancer. Donner contributed funds for construction of Donner Laboratory, at the Northeast corner of the Berkeley Campus that was dedicated in 1942. In June of the same year, he married Amy McNear Bowles, daughter George McNear Bowles, Sr. and Beatrice (Nickel) Bowles of San Francisco.

John Lawrence received the Enrico Fermi Award in 1983. He received honorary degrees from the University of South Dakota, University of Bordeaux and from the Catholic University of America. He was awarded the Caldwell Medal of the American Roentgen Ray Society; the MacKenzie Davidson Medal of the British Institute of Radiology ; a medal from Pope Pius XII; the Silver Medal of the University of Bordeaux; the Silver Cross of the Greek Royal Order of the Phoenix and the Pasteur Medal of the Pasteur Institute of Paris.[5]

Lawrence was a survivor of the sinking of the SS Athenia in 1939.



  • Radioisotopes and Radiation: Recent Advances in Medicine, Agriculture, and Industry (1969) ISBN 0-486-62301-7
  • Recent Advances in Nuclear Medicine, Vol. 5 (1978) ISBN 0-8089-1068-X

External links[edit]