Nuclear medicine born: Dec. 24, 1936

A turning point in the birth of nuclear medicine came in 1935, when Ernest Lawrence, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who invented the cyclotron (an early particle accelerator), coaxed his younger brother John to leave his position at Yale Medical School and move to Berkeley so they could work together to explore the potential of nuclear radiation in medicine.

Soon John Lawrence was running the Donner Laboratory on the University of California at Berkeley campus and little more than a year later he began using radioactive isotopes to treat cancer patients.  John Lawrence’s pioneering research earned him the title of the “Father of Nuclear Medicine.”