Skip to main content

A Century of Science for the Navy: From the Earliest U.S. Radar to Today’s Electromagnetic Materials Program

Brian R. Bennett


The creation of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in 1923 and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in 1946 were pivotal events in the development of science and technology for the U.S. Navy and the nation. I will discuss the historical conditions that led to the creation of NRL and ONR including the development of industrial research laboratories in the early part of the 20th Century and university research for the military during the Second World War. I will present examples of technologies developed by NRL and ONR including radar and GPS. Finally, I will discuss employment opportunities at NRL, the various ONR programs to fund research at universities, and my program in electromagnetic materials.


Brian Bennett received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in geophysics from M.I.T. He then served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, conducting research in the Solid State Sciences Division. He returned to M.I.T. and received the Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Engineering. From 1992 until 2014, he was at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. His research focused on the molecular beam epitaxial growth and applications of antimonide and arsenide semiconductor heterostructures. He also served as head of the Nanotechnology Section which included 12 PhD scientists. Since 2014, he has been at the Office of Naval Research where he is Program Officer for Electromagnetic Materials. Dr. Bennett is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Brian R. Bennett Headshot
Brian R. Bennett
Office of Naval Research
Virtual Zoom Lecture
5 May 2020, 10:30am until 11:30am