New York Times journalist William Laurence. Courtesy image
By SHARON SNYDER
Los Alamos Historical Society
Journalist William Laurence already had a keen interest in science when he attended the Harvard Tercentenary Conference of Arts and Sciences in 1936. Four years later he attended a lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to hear a young scientist named Robert Oppenheimer. At that time, Laurence could never have imagined where his interests in science would take him.
Laurence was born in Lithuania but eventually made his way to the United States where he left his birth name behind and became William Leonard Laurence, a naturalized U.S. citizen. He studied at Harvard until joining the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War I.
After returning from the war, Laurence earned a law degree at Boston University School of Law but chose to pursue a job as a newspaper reporter. In 1930, he began writing on scientific topics for The New York Times. Seven years later he won the first of two Pulitzer Prizes for reporting. He was advancing through an amazing career, but it was about to speed up.
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. Many of these articles were originally published by the