HRL Podcast E04 | Mary Young

Witnessing the dawn of the internet! Surviving the Cold War! Ushering in the 21st Century! Mary Young describes her decades-long career at HRL

Podcast guest: Mary Young. © 2018 HRL Laboratories.

In 2004, Mary Young retired after a distinguished research career that began in 1974 at Hughes Research Labs, then part of Hughes Aircraft Company, through the launch of HRL Laboratories, LLC, as we know it today and into to the 21stCentury.

Mary attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where she earned her bachelor’s degree in physics. She then earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mary and her husband moved to California in 1973 and Mary began working at Hughes Research Labs in late January 1974, conducting experiments needed to characterize specially doped silicon for infrared detector arrays.

Selected to receive a Hughes Doctoral Fellowship, in 1977 Mary began a PhD program in the Engineering Department at UCLA with Professor Oscar Stafsudd. After earning her PhD in 1980, Mary rose through the HRL ranks as a member of technical staff, then section head, project manager, and department head. In 1990 she became the first woman lab director at HRL Laboratories, as head of the Chemical Physics Laboratory, later renamed the Sensors and Materials Laboratory.

After retirement, Mary remained on advisory boards with the National Academy of Sciences and the United States Air Force, and on the Board of Visitors at her alma mater, Wake Forest. Mary and her husband travel extensively since their retirement, and they still live in the Malibu area. Mary was kind enough to make time to talk to us about her long and illustrious career at HRL.

MS17345 | TICR18-348 Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Media Inquiries: media[at]