Lawrence Cooper was born in 1916 in San Diego, California and grew up near Vernal, Utah and graduated from Provo High School. He married Inez Stephens in 1941.

After receiving his Bachelors degree from Brigham Young University in 1952, he earned a Masters of Science Education in Geology from the University of Utah in 1958. He then joined the faculty at CSU as a Professor of Geology and Physical Science.

Once joining the staff at CSU, Cooper became involved with the National Science Foundation and the development of Science Education Programs for Junior and High Schools.

Cooper was killed in an automobile accident on August 11, 1977 near Vernal, Utah.