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March 10, 2022

Johns Hopkins APL Rings in 80 Years

In a nod to the organization’s 80th anniversary, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) staff members were greeted on March 10 with coffee costing a mere 80 cents per cup in the cafeteria and an otherwise understated ushering in of a new decade.

Since 1942, APL has served as an indispensable resource to the government and the nation’s defense and security. The Laboratory officially marked its oak anniversary with a video celebration and a focus on staying true to its time-tested tenets. As the Lab embarks on this latest chapter, its commitment to providing previously unimaginable solutions to the nation’s most complex national security and space exploration challenges remains steadfast.

“As we celebrate APL’s first eight decades, we do so with an eye toward the future,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “We have learned with each new challenge we face — as a Laboratory and as a nation — that solving complex scientific and technical problems is only part of our charge. We must do so always with an operational perspective and an anticipatory stance, envisioning what may be over the horizon and pushing to remain at the leading edge.”

While the anniversary kicked off what will be a yearlong celebration for APL staff members, it also provides an apt opportunity to look back at the Lab’s unique history.

For more on the Laboratory’s roots, visit APL’s History page, enjoy the 80th anniversary timeline video embedded above, or revisit the many comprehensive overviews shared just five years ago when APL celebrated 75 years with a crowd of more than 1,200 in its Kossiakoff Center.

APL’s major contributions have been marked, periodically, by what the Lab refers to as its Defining Innovations — game-changing breakthroughs in technology that created inflection points in history — and those and more are showcased in this interactive timeline.

As the Lab looks ahead toward the upcoming decade and beyond, it is fortified by the work happening across its 12 mission areas, a continued culture of innovation, and an emphasis on the mission that has enabled the Lab’s work for the last 80 years: solving complex research, engineering and analytical problems that present critical challenges to our nation.

Media contact: Amanda Zrebiec, 240-592-2794,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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