List of United States college laboratories conducting basic defense research

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Following World War II, the United States Department of Defense (and in some cases after 1977, the Department of Energy) funded basic scientific research at labs affiliated with a number of colleges and universities. Here is an incomplete list:

Lab University Location Notable work Refs and notes
AARL Ohio State University Columbus, OH wind tunnels, jet engine test cell design
Ames Laboratory Iowa State University Ames, IA separated and studied rare earth elements [note 1]
Applied Physics Laboratory Johns Hopkins Laurel, MD development of guided missile technology and drones.
Applied Research Laboratory Pennsylvania State University State College, PA
Argonne Lab University of Chicago Lemont, IL highly sensitive instruments and technologies to detect chemical, biological, and radioactive threats [note 1]
Cornell Aeronautical Lab Cornell University Buffalo, NY wind tunnel, seat belt testing [note 2]
Draper Lab MIT Cambridge, MA guidance systems for Project Apollo and the Polaris missile [note 3]
Fermilab University of Chicago Batavia, IL discovery of the top quark
Georgia Tech Research Institute Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA Radar, energy and electromagnetics work [1][2]
Idaho National Laboratory MIT Arco, ID first nuclear-powered electric generator; designed and tested reactors for naval submarines [note 1]
Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA Developed ballistic missiles in its early days an currently collaborates with several US military agencies
Lawrence Berkeley University of California Berkeley, CA Manhattan Project, electromagnetic enrichment of uranium [note 1]
Lawrence Livermore University of California Livermore, CA home to some of the world's most powerful computer systems
Lincoln Lab MIT Lexington, MA Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE), TX-0 computer
Los Alamos University of California Los Alamos, NM Manhattan Project
Oak Ridge University of Tennessee Oak Ridge, TN Spallation Neutron Source and the High Flux Isotope Reactor. [note 1]
Radiation Laboratory MIT Cambridge, MA LORAN
RRL Harvard University Cambridge, MA electronic countermeasures to enemy radars and communications
Sandia University of California[note 4] Albuquerque, NM reliability and surety of nuclear weapon systems
SLAC Stanford University Menlo Park, CA charm quark and tau lepton; the longest linear accelerator in the world; development of the klystron [note 1]
SEI Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA CMM or CMMI ;CERT/CC
Applied Research Laboratories University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX acoustics, electromagnetics, and information sciences
Weber Research Institute Polytechnic Institute of New York University Brooklyn, New York electromagnetic and microwave defense and communication systems
Information Systems and Internet Security Lab (ISIS) Polytechnic Institute of New York University Brooklyn, New York computer and network security, digital forensics, hardware for secure systems, digital watermarking and steganography
Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology (WICAT) Polytechnic Institute of New York University Brooklyn, New York increase network capacity and battery life of terminals, enhance network security, and structure applications to run efficiently over wireless networks.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Now funded by the Dept. of Energy
  2. ^ Divested in 1972
  3. ^ Divested in 1973
  4. ^ Until 1949, now operated by a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation