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The Lighter Side of Physics

I

n the post-War era, physics research may look like an impersonal “Big Science” discipline that relished its autonomy in the proverbial ivory tower, but the reality on the Berkeley campus was something entirely different. Berkeley physicists have long chosen to shuck the chrysalis of their conventional lab coat and live rich public and private lives.


Lawrence often played tennis and led fishing trips and hikes for friends and colleagues; faculty and staff frequented DiBiasi’s Restaurant in Albany for departmental parties and celebrations; picnics in the parks would be followed by a softball game pitting faculty against staff-student teams.



Lawrence Polishing His Serve, Berkeley Tennis Club, ca. 1955
Lawrence Polishing His Serve, Berkeley Tennis Club, ca. 1955

[Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory]


Fishing Trip on Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, ca. 1955, Otto Hahn, E. O. Lawrence, Donald Cooksey at Pt. Lobos
Fishing Trip on Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, ca. 1955
Otto Hahn, E. O. Lawrence, Donald Cooksey at Pt. Lobos
by Hanno Hahn, November 1955

[Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory]


Physics Professor Relaxing in His Office, 1944
Physics Professor Relaxing in His Office, 1944

[Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory]


Party at DiBiasi's Restaurant, Albany, [1939?]
Party at DiBiasi's Restaurant, Albany, [1939?]
(Back Row Standing from Left): Bob Cornog, Ernest Lawrence, Luis Alvarez, Molly Lawrence, Emilio Segre;
(Second Row): Jerry Alvarez (seated), Betty Thornton, Paul Aebersold (standing), Iva Dee Hiatt, Edwin McMillan, Bill Farley;
(First Row): Donald Cooksey, Robert Thornton and Bob Sihlis (Celebrant)

[Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory]


The department celebrated Lawrence’s Nobel Prize with a party at DiBiasi’s restaurant, a favorite hangout. This photograph may have been taken at that event.