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Josh Hartnett plays Ernest Lawrence in Oppenheimer, who like most of the characters, is based on a real-life person. Lawrence was a nuclear physicist who in 1939 won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cyclotron. Lawrence was also part of the Manhattan Project, working on uranium-isotope separation, and he was a close friend of Oppenheimer, so much so that he named his son Robert after him. In 1945, Lawrence observed the Trinity nuclear test of the first atomic bomb, and while Oppenheimer pushed for no demonstration of their new weapon to Japanese leaders, Lawrence felt a demonstration would be wise, and he felt great pride when a uranium bomb was used without warning in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Edward Lawrence died in 1958 at the age of 57, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were renamed after him.
Source: Christopher Nolan Art & Updates @NolanAnalyst