Applied Physics Laboratory
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), located in Howard County, Maryland
Howard County, Maryland
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*62.2% White*17.5% Black*0.3% Native American*14.4% Asian*0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.6% Two or more races*2.0% Other races*5.8% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

 near Laurel
Laurel, Maryland
Laurel is a city in northern Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County, Maryland, United States, located midway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Incorporated in 1870, the city maintains a historic district including its Main Street...

 and Columbia
Columbia, Maryland
Columbia is a planned community that consists of ten self-contained villages, located in Howard County, Maryland, United States. It began with the idea that a city could enhance its residents' quality of life. Creator and developer James W. Rouse saw the new community in terms of human values, not...

, is a not-for-profit, university-affiliated research center
University Affiliated Research Center
A University Affiliated Research Center is a strategic United States Department of Defense research center associated with a university. UARCs were formally established in May 1996 by the Director of Defense Research and Engineering , Office of the Secretary of Defense, with the UARC Management...

 employing 4,500 people. APL is primarily a defense contractor
Defense contractor
A defense contractor is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military department of a government. Products typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems...

. It serves as a technical resource for the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

, and other government agencies. The Lab is a research and development organization rather than an academic division of Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

. Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering
Whiting School of Engineering
The G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering, is a division of the Johns Hopkins University located in the university's Homewood campus in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 offers part-time graduate programs through its Engineering for Professionals program. Courses are taught at seven locations in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area
Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area
The Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area is a combined statistical area consisting of the overlapping labor market region of the cities of Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.. The region includes Central Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Jefferson County in the Eastern Panhandle of West...

, including the APL Education Center.

APL was created in 1942 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 under the Office of Scientific Research and Development as part of the Government’s effort to mobilize the nation’s science and engineering expertise within its universities. Its founding director was Merle Anthony Tuve
Merle Tuve
Merle Anthony Tuve, PhD was an American scientist and geophysicist who was the founding director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He was a pioneer in the use of pulsed radio waves whose discoveries opened the way to the development of radar and nuclear...

. The Laboratory succeeded in developing the variable-time proximity fuze
Proximity fuze
A proximity fuze is a fuze that is designed to detonate an explosive device automatically when the distance to target becomes smaller than a predetermined value or when the target passes through a given plane...

 that played a significant role in the Allied victory. Expected to disband, APL instead became heavily involved in the development of guided missile technology for the Navy. At Government request, the University continued to maintain the Laboratory as a public service.

APL was originally located in Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 71,452 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.The urbanized, oldest, and...

 at the former Wolf Motor Company building at 8621 Georgia Avenue. APL moved to Laurel beginning in 1954, with all staff moving there by 1975. Before moving to Laurel, APL also maintained the "Forest Grove Station", north of Silver Spring on Georgia Avenue near today's Forest Glen Metro, which included a hypersonic wind tunnel. The Forest Grove Station was vacated and torn down in 1963 and flight simulations were moved to Laurel.

The Laboratory’s name comes from its origins in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, but APL’s major strengths are system engineering and technology application. About half of the technical staff are engineers, and 25% have computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

 and math degrees. APL conducts programs in fundamental and applied research; exploratory and advanced development; test and evaluation; and systems engineering and integration.

From 1965 through 1990, APL provided technical support to and performed testing to improve the performance and survivability of the Pershing missile systems.

The U.S. Navy continues to be APL’s primary long-term sponsor. The Laboratory performs work for the Missile Defense Agency
Missile Defense Agency
The Missile Defense Agency is the section of the United States government's Department of Defense responsible for developing a layered defense against ballistic missiles. The agency has its origins in the Strategic Defense Initiative, which was established in 1983 and was headed by Lt...

, the Department of Homeland Security, intelligence agencies, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and others. The Laboratory supports NASA through space science, spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 design and fabrication, and mission operations. APL has made significant contributions in the areas of air defense, strike and power projection, submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 security, antisubmarine warfare, strategic systems evaluation, command and control, distributed information and display systems, sensors, information processing and space systems. APL has built and operated many spacecraft, including: the TRANSIT navigation system
Transit (satellite)
The TRANSIT system, also known as NAVSAT , was the first satellite navigation system to be used operationally. The system was primarily used by the U.S...

NEAR Shoemaker
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous - Shoemaker , renamed after its 1996 launch in honor of planetary scientist Eugene M. Shoemaker, was a robotic space probe designed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for NASA to study the near-Earth asteroid Eros from close orbit over a...

, Geosat
The GEOSAT was a U.S. Navy Earth observation satellite, launched on March 12, 1985 into an 800 km, 108° inclination orbit, with an orbital period of 23.07 days and a 330 pass orbit. The satellite carried a radar altimeter capable of measuring the distance from the satellite to sea surface...

Advanced Composition Explorer
Advanced Composition Explorer is a NASA space exploration mission being conducted as part of the Explorer program to study matter in situ, comprising energetic particles from the solar wind, the interplanetary medium, and other sources. Real-time data from ACE is used by the Space Weather...

The TIMED mission was a two year project to study the dynamics of the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere portion of the Earth's atmosphere. The mission was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on December 7, 2001 aboard a Delta II rocket launch vehicle...

The COmet Nucleus TOUR was a NASA Discovery-class space probe that failed shortly after its July 2002 launch. It had as its primary objective close flybys of two comet nuclei with the possibility of a flyby of a third known comet or an as-yet-undiscovered comet.The two comets scheduled to be...

The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging space probe is a robotic NASA spacecraft in orbit around the planet Mercury. The spacecraft was launched aboard a Delta II rocket in August 2004 to study the chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field of Mercury...

, New Horizons
New Horizons
New Horizons is a NASA robotic spacecraft mission currently en route to the dwarf planet Pluto. It is expected to be the first spacecraft to fly by and study Pluto and its moons, Charon, Nix, Hydra and S/2011 P 1. Its estimated arrival date at the Pluto-Charon system is July 14th, 2015...

, and STEREO
STEREO is a solar observation mission. Two nearly identical spacecraft were launched into orbits that cause them to respectively pull farther ahead of and fall gradually behind the Earth...


The asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 132524 APL has been named in honor of APL after a flyby by the New Horizons spacecraft.

Cultural references

APL is referenced in Tom Clancy’s
Tom Clancy
Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr. is an American author, best known for his technically detailed espionage, military science, and techno thriller storylines set during and in the aftermath of the Cold War, along with video games on which he did not work, but which bear his name for licensing and...

 novels "Patriot Games
Patriot Games
Patriot Games is a novel by Tom Clancy. It is chronologically the first book focusing on CIA analyst Jack Ryan, the main character in almost all of Clancy's novels. It is the indirect sequel to Without Remorse...

", "The Teeth of the Tiger
The Teeth of the Tiger
The Teeth of the Tiger is a thriller novel by Tom Clancy. Published on August 1, 2003, it is a part of the Jack Ryan universe, and follows the adventures of Jack Ryan, Jr., son of the original Jack Ryan, set in a post-9/11 world.-Plot summary:...

", and "Without Remorse
Without Remorse
Without Remorse is a thriller novel published in 1993 by Tom Clancy and is a part of the Jack Ryan universe series. While not the first novel of the series to be published, it is first in plot chronology. The main setting of the book is set during the Vietnam War, in the American city of Baltimore...


See also

External links

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