Oral History Interviews

Interviews that offer unique insights into the lives, works, and personalities of modern scientists

Lee DuBridge talks about Ernest and John Lawrence and their experiments on the biological effects of various types of radiation.

Oral history audio excerpt

Lee DuBridge talks about Ernest and John Lawrence and their experiments on the biological effects of various types of radiation.

Weiner:

But what’s unique I think is the plan for specific cooperation here with people in the medical-biological field, sort of a specific university program. I’m trying to think of —

DuBridge:

Well, Ernest and his brother, John Lawrence and some of the other people at Berkeley, had begun experiments on the biological effects of various radiations. So this certainly was not an original idea. Ernest was very enthusiastic about the possibilities of biological and medical uses of neutrons, and maybe high-energy protons and deuterons. Certainly the artificially induced radioactive materials were of special interest. I remember seeing Ernest give a paper at a National Academy meeting, probably it was in 1934, where he had a Geiger counter and he had some radioactive sodium which he had shipped in by air from Berkeley. He drank a solution of radioactive sodium, and then showed how quickly it got to his fingers and various parts of his body. It was a very exciting demonstration.