HRL Podcast E01 | Bill Leslie

Hughes Research Labs and Cold War Avant-Garde

Podcast guest: Bill Leslie. © 2017 HRL Laboratories.

Bill Leslie has taught the history of science and technology at Johns Hopkins University since 1981. He has written on industrial research, Cold War science, corporate architecture, and most recently the architecture of science. Much of his recent work looks at science and technology in the developing world – Iran, India, and Pakistan – and at the aerospace industry in Southern California. He is currently writing a history of Johns Hopkins University.

Bill has also written an article for Laboratory Lifestyles (by MIT Press to be released in 2018) entitled The Beach Boys: Classified Research with a Southern California Vibe that focuses on laboratories in Southern California – including HRL Laboratories – that were designed to recruit, retain, and inspire scientists with bold architecture, scenic views, challenging problems, brilliant colleagues, and a lifestyle Bill intriguingly describes as “cold war avant-garde”. Bill was kind enough to make time for us today to talk about the history of HRL Laboratories.

Podcast Extras

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HRL's History of the Future
Host and theme music: Shaun Mason
Production, editing, voiceover, and recording: Bryan Ferguson

HRL's History of the Future Podcast is a science-related interview program presented by HRL Laboratories in Malibu, California.
Opinions expressed by podcast guests are not necessarily those of HRL Laboratories, LLC.

HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California ( is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.

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