Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

Overview

In 1942, a team of scientists, engineers, and technicians led by UC Berkeley physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer gathered in Los Alamos to begin the Manhattan Project, the secret mission to develop the atomic bomb that would help end World War II.

Still best known for its contributions to national security – recently developing bio-detectors and other detectors to keep terrorists from smuggling nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, for example – LANL research is creating new products and technologies in many other completely different fields, such as a computer code to improve automobile efficiency, tape that conducts electricity without any resistance, and a virus database that may be helpful in developing an AIDS vaccine.

In 1943, UC agreed to manage the laboratory for the federal government. Located 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Los Alamos lab has since become a major research complex, including extraordinarily powerful supercomputers, more than 50 cross-disciplinary facilities and a leading role in the development of the human genome map.

After 60 years, the University of California competed for and was awarded a contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of a new limited liability corporation - Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS) - which includes Bechtel, The Babcock & Wilcox Company and URS Energy & Construction, Inc.