It can be done
Steel industrialist Gordon Battelle provided for the Battelle Memorial Institute in his last will and testament after a career devoted to the idea that science and research can solve problems in business, as well as society as a whole. His vision soon became Battelle’s mission.
The onset of WWII prompted Battelle’s research into the fabrication of the then–unknown metal uranium, which supported the now infamous Manhattan Project. This particular contribution propelled Battelle to take its place as one of the nation’s leading institutions for nuclear research.
With WWII in America’s rearview mirror, fast became the fashion—from fast cars to fast food. Battelle hit the gas, fast-tracking new ideas to streamline the way we lived and worked. Battelle solvers were instrumental in the development of the photocopy machine, which propelled the organization to exponential growth, and the UPC barcode symbol—now a staple in retail and manufacturing.
The Space Age was defined by rapid advances in technology and a number of historic firsts. Battelle’s contributions included research into combustion, electronics, energy conversion, life support, coatings, lubrication, materials, propellants, radiation and electronic mechanical reliability. Our work assisted in the launch of Apollo 11 and helped America secure its seat in the space race.
Battelle’s contributions to biotechnology helped mobilize its mission to make the world safer, healthier and more secure. Battelle research helped develop biological and chemical defense systems, materials, vaccines and preventative measures for military and civilian programs nationwide, plus significant contributions to agricultural improvements and environmental protection.
A new millennium launched Battelle into a new era of defending the globe through research. Battelle has proudly helped support and defend the world with contributions in biodefense, cyber defense, war defense, biosecurity and ecology. Battelle continues to manage the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory, both dedicated to national security.
Gordon Battelle said it best: “Original research is mankind’s most powerful weapon in solving the problems of nature.” At this moment, many of the organization's most talented and inventive solvers are sharply focused on the issues of today and tomorrow.Explore Back to Start
The Foundational Age
to launch a legacy of solving the world's most pressing challenges
*$55 million in today's dollars
In 1920, Gordon Battelle wrote his last will and testament, which would later create the Battelle Memorial Institute. Three years later, he died unexpectedly at the age of 40 after complications from an appendectomy. Gordon Battelle bequeathed half of his estate to create the Institute. His mother, Annie, who died two years later, left the balance of the family fortune to the Institute, bringing the total endowment to $3.7 million.
Square feet tolaunch the institute
The cornerstone of the original building was placed on October 3, 1929. The cornerstone box contained copies of portions of Gordon Battelle's will, a booklet describing the building project and the original architect's drawings.
A product used by
In 1929, Battelle partnered with the Reynolds Metals Company on Battelle's second-ever research project, Project S-2: Aluminum Foil. In 1947, the Reynolds Metals Company released Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. In the years to come, Battelle's expertise in metallurgy created a foundation for advanced materials research.
Turning It up to
*Creep tests were conducted at up to 1832°.
Battelle has always been known for its metallurgic research prowess. Its research on iron and steel and additives such as molybdenum, sand mixtures, binders and metallurgical techniques led the world into the era of high-temperature materials needed for aeronautical and space flight.
And Still Going
Battelle's first U.S. patent was filed in 1932 by inventors Horace W. Gillett, Battelle's first president, and Howard Cross. Both men were recognized at the time as two of the world's foremost metallurgists. This was the first of many patents to be assigned to Battelle over the decades in all areas of science and technology.
Leading The Way
In Research for All
Prior to the 1930s, most companies did not invest in research and development. Those that did performed simple experiments in small laboratories. Gordon Battelle's vision was to change this and find a way to provide high-quality research to industry. To bring this vision to life, second president Clyde Williams pioneered the concept of the “contract research business,” a company that provides support to industry in the form of research services outsourced on a contract basis.
The Industrial Atomic Age
Helping to protect More Than
Battelle’s first government contract came from the U.S. Army to improve armor plating for tanks in order to protect Allied soldiers on the battlefield during WWII. The project was done at cost to support the U.S. war effort. Battelle also contributed the minds and managerial skills of its top solvers throughout WWII to help win the war. That mission continues to this day as Battelle builds armored commercial vehicles for U.S. military forces.
Ability to improve Crop Production
Battelle first identified the benefits of copper for improved crop yield in 1942. This research was the catalyst for copper-related fertilizer research for decades to come. Today, copper remains one of eight essential plant micronutrients and is required for many enzymatic activities in plants and for chlorophyll and seed production. Deficiency of copper can lead to increased susceptibility to diseases like ergot, which can cause significant yield loss in small grains.
Designed For Continuous Operation
Battelle extruded uranium used for the fuel elements for the world’s first full-scale nuclear reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Today, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.
The Manhattan Project
An end To WWII
Four hundred of Battelle's best and brightest solvers played a critical role in the top secret Manhattan Project. Fabricating plutonium from uranium to be used in the nuclear core of atomic weapons, their contributions helped the U.S. avoid a ground invasion of Japan and brought about the conclusion of WWII.
Changing time for The first time in
Battelle is credited with the research leading to the “greatest watchmaking advance since the use of jewels for bearings” in an article on the Elgin Watch Company’s new Elgiloy, which appeared in the March 5 issue of The New York Times. The same alloy was later used for the mechanical valve for the artificial human heart. Today, the Elgin Watch company is called Elgiloy, a company that continues to produce more than 40 high-performance alloys.
Jules Verne’s fictional Nautilus may have been powered by seawater, but it would take the solvers of Battelle to provide the nuclear fuel for its U.S. Navy counterpart, which on August 3, 1958 became the first nuclear-powered submarine to navigate to the North Pole. Not only did this open uncharted waters for scientific exploration and discovery, the Nautilus was heralded as a symbol of this country’s pioneering spirit. In service for 25 years, it broke almost all existing records and could travel underwater at speeds in excess of 20 knots.
For commercial use
On January 26, Battelle broke ground on the world’s first privately financed atomic research center, designed specifically to provide research services for industry. In 1956, Battelle’s lab was used by industry in the development of reactors for power production and propulsion.
The Acceleration Age
Around the World Today
In 1944, Battelle was approached by a New York patent attorney named Chester F. Carlson, who had unsuccessfully shopped his dry-copy process to dozens of companies. Battelle's solvers saw potential. Partnering with Carlson and the Haloid Co. of Rochester, N.Y., it refined what came to be known as xerography. Like many technologies Battelle develops, it took years before the world would catch up and understand its necessity.
Before the Xerox, when an important letter arrived, only a small number of higher-ups clapped eyes on it. The original would circulate from office to office, with a “routing slip” showing who'd read it and where it should travel next. But after the photocopier arrived, employees began copying magazine articles and white papers that they felt everyone else should see and circulating them with abandon. Wrote a memo? Why not send it to everyone? Copying was liberating.Smithsonian Magazine
That changed retail Forever
Several types of barcodes were submitted to the Super Market Institute for testing by Battelle. In 1973, the 12-digit linear UPC code submitted by IBM was chosen as the standard for industry.
U.S. & Foreign Patents
At PNNL Since 1965
In 1965, Battelle was selected by the federal government to manage the Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL). PNL is one of 17 Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories. PNL has been operated by Battelle for more than 50 years, responsible for performing interdisciplinary research for other DOE offices as well as government agencies, universities, and industry to deliver breakthrough science and technology to meet today's key national needs.
For a More Efficient Mint
The Battelle research report “A Study of Alloys Suitable for Use as United States Coinage” led to a fundamental shift in the way the U.S. Treasury mints coins. It is believed that mint processes can be adapted to manufacture multilayer composites without difficulty.
In 1967, Battelle provided $85,000 to a joint transportation study with the City of Columbus. The goal was to identify methods of achieving effective public transport for the Columbus/Franklin County area. The following year, Battelle completed a HUD-sponsored study that identified 22 research, development and demonstration tasks that could be undertaken to improve the nation's urban transportation.
The Space Age
The Apollo 11 Project
Battelle supported the American space race with studies in combustion, electronics, energy conversion, life support, coatings, lubrication, materials, propellants, radiation effects and electronic mechanical reliability.
Going Digital in the
*2018 global music industry worth
In 1974, Pacific Northwest Researcher James Russell patented a way to record tiny “bits” of light and dark, each one a micron in diameter, and a laser to read the tiny “pits” (binary patterns), as well as a computer to convert the data into an electrical signal. This process was called Optical Digital Recording (ODR). Battelle asked Russell to apply it to digitizing and reproducing music. Eventually, Sony and Philips licensed it, establishing a proprietary ODR format for audio called “Compact Disc” (CD), and delivered a commercial product in 1982, followed in 1985 with a related ODR for data called CD-ROM.
Of the nation's Electricity Use
*In 2016, analysts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory used detailed light detection and ranging data for 128 cities nationwide. The analysis revealed a technical potential of 1,118 gigawatts (GW) of capacity and 1,432 terawatts (TWh) annual energy generation, equivalent to 39% of the nation's electricity sales.
In 1974, Battelle patented a process for depositing thin films on solar cells with the promise of greatly reducing manufacturing costs for solar photovoltaic cells. Battelle's early contributions to solar technology also included a solar-powered engine and various compounds for collecting and storing photochemical energy.
Demonstration Of Viability
While NASA initially funded a variety of early solar sail studies, the research was put on hold in the early 1970s. NASA originally asked Battelle engineer Jerome Wright to examine what kind of rocket system could launch a solar sail into space. Wright, determined to prove the viability of solar sails, took the analysis a step further by running the numbers on potential solar sail missions to other planets.
First Photo of Uranus from
The first photograph of Uranus was taken in 1986 thanks in part to research done at Battelle. In 1986, Battelle employees were recognized for the technical assistance they provided to help the Jet Propulsion Laboratory diagnose and solve a lubrication problem with Voyager’s camera scan platform that aims the spacecraft’s cameras during planetary approach and flyby.
For Fiber Optics
In 1971, Battelle perfected and patented a system of transferring information through the modulation of a laser beam, providing the catalyst for their early fiber optics work. Years later in 1987, Battelle joined forces with Mitsubishi and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation to form the Photon Integration Research Inc. (PIRI) to commercialize fiber optic technologies. This partnership contributed to the proliferation of fiber optics and digital technologies.
The Biotech Age
Since 1989, Battelle supported military and civilian objectives through more than 650 programs in the development of biological and chemical defense systems, materials, vaccines and preventive measures. Today, Battelle continues to provide unique capabilities and expertise in biodefense, environmental safety and health, food safety, logistics, information management, public health and training.
Needed to Succeed
Battelle's first experiment in space was aboard the April 1990 launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. For this experiment, “Polymer Membrane Processing,” researchers worked to improve the uniformity of thin–film polymer membranes. The membranes, which are used for commercial applications such as kidney dialysis and blood filtering, form differently in space than they do under the influence of gravity in the laboratory.
For Tracing Ecological Damage
In 1993, Battelle researchers developed a technique to determine the origins of oil–based hazardous waste–even decades after a spill occurred. Weathering makes it difficult to identify a substance over time. But Battelle developed the ability to identify fingerprints in hydrocarbons, even after advanced hydration.
Of the global population
*98% of the global population live under the Chemical Weapons Convention today
Battelle has worked on the front lines of chemical weapons demilitarization for three decades. In 1993, the U.S. signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, agreeing to destroy remaining stockpiles of chemical agents. Battelle was selected by the Department of Defense to help destroy chemical agents in existing stockpiles, safely dispose of residual waste and close the sites in an environmentally responsible manner. While several sites have already been closed, Battelle provides continued support at the two remaining stockpiles in Pueblo, Colorado, and Bluegrass, Kentucky.
In the Earth's Atmosphere
In 2003, Battelle was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a group of public and private partners to explore the viability of carbon sequestration as a key climate change mitigation technology. Battelle researchers have been working since the 1990s to explore the potential of using deep geologic formations to store CO2 captured from power plants, petrochemical facilities, biofuels and other industrial sources.
The Global Guardian Age
For the department of Homeland Security
In 2006, Battelle was selected by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to manage the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC). This is the first national laboratory created by the DHS. The mission of NBACC is to understand current and future biological threats, assess vulnerabilities, determine potential consequences and provide a national capability for conducting forensic analysis on biocrimes and bioterrorism.
The NBACC's twin mission of threat characterization and bioforensics are essential and critical for our nation's long-term biosecurity and for the continuous, real-time needs of federal law enforcement.Director, National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center
In Cyber Researchers And Engineers Since 2011
Battelle has been trusted by government clients to solve some of their most perplexing cyber challenges and prepare for the changing cyber landscape of tomorrow. Battelle's innovative solutions challenge conventional problem-solving approaches to gain rapid tactical advantages over the most aggressive adversaries. In an environment where cyber operations are a matter of national security, Battelle stands ready to help sustain U.S. cyberspace dominance.
To complete an Armored Vehicle
Battelle produces lightweight armored and upgraded vehicles for American troops who require better operational performance and protection in challenging environments. Today, Battelle's vehicles have a reputation for being the toughest in the business–equipped to endure rigorous missions in rough terrain resulting in off-road mobility and long-term durability.
Ian Burkhart, a 23–year–old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first study participant to use Battelle NeuroLife® technology, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to the muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb. Burkhart, who was paralyzed during a diving accident, participated in the FDA–approved clinical trial at The Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.
A tiny chip implanted on the brain picks up electrical signals and transmits them to a computer for processing/decoding–essentially interpreting what the participant is thinking about, bypassing the spinal cord injury and translating those signals into a language that muscles can understand.
Pioneering The DNA Frontier
In 2014, Battelle released the first massively parallel sequencing (MPS) software for DNA analysis. The application helped identify human identity, kinship and phenotype. This technology has the potential to enhance forensic capabilities for law enforcement and prosecutors and help in the defense of those wrongfully accused. Today, Battelle's ThreatSEQ™ DNA screening web service uses MPS to identify biosecurity threats and characterization of sequences of concern in genomic data.
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can pose a serious risk to government agencies and officials, but Battelle developed a solution. The DroneDefender® counter–UAS device couples innovative technology with efficient design for safe, reliable, proven security from airborne threats. Battelle's DroneDefender is the first man–portable, accurate and easy–to–use system, providing critical security protection in a world where commercially available UAS are intruding at government buildings, large gatherings of people and other sensitive sites.
of Ecological Data
Battelle is proud to manage one of the most ambitious ecological programs of all time: The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). The NEON program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is the largest ecological observatory network in the U.S., with field sites spanning the country from Puerto Rico to Alaska and Hawaii. The program will collect ecological data for 30 years from terrestrial and aquatic field sites in 20 North American ecoclimatic domains, creating open access data trove for the ecology community of unprecedented scope and scale for the ecological science community.
NEON is truly a visionary project, one that will allow scientists to take the pulse of our planet and help forecast its future. This decision enables NEON to continue moving forward; the quality of Battelle's technical and management approach will ensure NEON will meet the evolving needs of the research and communities it serves.Assistant Director for Biological Sciences
Managing and Operating 1 of The Largest
Science + Technology
Centers in the World
On June 8, 2018, The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) awarded the management and operating contract for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to Triad National Security, LLC. Triad consists of Battelle, the University of California and Texas A&M University. The NNSA notified Triad on July 5, 2018 that it could proceed with the launch of the official transition process–an important milestone for the initiative.
Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of the largest science and technology institutes in the world. It conducts multidisciplinary research in fields such as national security, space exploration, renewable medicine, nanotechnology and supercomputing.