| March 5, 2002|
For Immediate Release
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory: A Very Robust "60"
On March 10, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., celebrates 60 years of making critical contributions to the solution of critical national challenges.
The Laboratory's mission in 1942, when it was founded, was to develop a proximity fuze, a device said to be one of the three technological developments — along with radar and the atomic bomb — that helped end World War II. The Laboratory's work began in Silver Spring, Md., in a used car garage that was an excellent cover for its secretive work. A move in 1954 to a 365-acre site in Howard County afforded APL more privacy and space for its growing number of offices, laboratories and test facilities.
Today, the Laboratory's 3,300 staff members still focus on applying technology to enhance the security of the nation. They are also deeply involved in space science, and carry on important work in biomedicine and education in support of the University's mission. "For 60 years APL has met the challenges of each decade, developing useful solutions for which we are justifiably proud," says Laboratory Director Rich Roca. "Along the way, our innovations have addressed national challenges from the depths of the seas to the far reaches of space. We have developed new technologies and concepts that were urgently needed and will be used in the years to come."
APL's steady hand has guided development of a wide range of products from complex weapons systems that protect Navy ships, to innovative medical devices, to mechanical operating systems smaller than the width of a human hair.
In the 1960s, the Laboratory invented the first navigation-by-satellite system (Transit) and over the next several decades built 60 spacecraft that have studied the Earth, are monitoring solar phenomena, and soon will be exploring several comets. APL's many space accomplishments include the 2001 landing of the first spacecraft on an asteroid, which amazed the world and earned APL wide scientific acclaim.
The Navy, APL's largest single sponsor throughout its existence, has benefited from the Laboratory's work on weapons such as Standard, Tomahawk and Fleet ballistic missiles and such APL innovations as the Cooperative Engagement Capability system — one of the first network-centric warfare systems, which links elements of a battle group for coordinated air defense.
As technical direction agent for many defense programs, APL develops future concepts and provides independent evaluation of technology, testing and analysis to ensure that systems and equipment in development are effective, cost-efficient and the overall best product for the job. The Laboratory takes pride in achieving practical, operationally sound solutions to complex problems.
Undersea warfare is a vital aspect of national security, and APL engages in virtually all technological aspects of this critical area. Lab expertise in submarine detection and ocean physics — as well as the ability to build and test prototypes — spans the decades from the emergence of the Soviet nuclear submarine threat during the Cold War through current challenges.
The development of mass spectrometers for remote detecting of dangerous chemicals is typical of cutting-edge projects to emerge from the Lab's basic research work. Other projects seek to thwart counterfeiters and terrorists. Still others protect complex information systems.
For 60 years the Laboratory has been adding to its repertoire of capabilities and building its reputation as a national resource. Its present is sound, and its future is expected to be one of innovation and excellence as it continues to enhance the nation's security.
The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.