UC Berkeley News
Web Feature

UC Berkeley Web Feature

E.O. Lawrence's Nobel medal goes missing from LHS

– The Nobel medal belonging to the late Ernest O. Lawrence, winner of the 1939 Nobel Prize is Physics, is missing from its display case at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), according to campus police. The hall is offering a $2,500 reward for its safe return and for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief.

Nobel medal
The Nobel medal won by Ernest O. Lawrence (left) in 1939 has disappeared from a locked case at the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Since 1968, the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley has served as a living memorial to Lawrence. He not only was a great scientist whose discoveries changed the course of science, but also a dedicated teacher and a passionate advocate of science education for everyone. Ten years after his death in 1958, the LHS opened its doors and has since served millions of students with educational programs, teacher professional development and curriculum materials.

After Lawrence's widow, Molly Lawrence, died in 2003, the family chose the LHS to house many of his highest awards, including his gold Nobel medal. These awards became part of the E. O. Lawrence Memorial Room, a space of 1,750 square feet that has displayed artifacts of his life and work for nearly 40 years.

On Thursday, March 1, a member of the LHS Exhibits staff reported that the medal, which was housed in a locked case, was missing. The UC Police Department was notified immediately and is investigating the disappearance of this important symbol of UC Berkeley's Nobel tradition. Rare coin, bullion and art collectors nationally and internationally have been notified and an all-points bulletin has been released.

LHS Director Elizabeth K. Stage said Monday, "Ernest O. Lawrence played an important role in the history of science, and his dedication to teaching and advocacy of science education continues here at the Lawrence Hall of Science. We are deeply saddened by the loss of the Nobel medal, which is a symbol of high achievement, and are offering a $2,500 reward for its safe return and information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect."

Persons with information on the missing medal should contact Detective Bruce Bauer at the UC Police Department at (510) 642-4909 or bebauer@berkeley.edu.