Several University of Texas physicists and acousticians served at the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory during World War II. Among them was associate director Paul Boner who founded Defense Research Laboratory upon his return to Texas in 1945. (The name of the laboratory was changed to Applied Research Laboratories in 1966.) The organization was founded on the tenets of research, education, and public service. The underwater acoustics program began in 1949 in support of passive sea mine sensors and has developed in the areas of basic research, as well as minehunting, low frequency surveillance, and tactical anti-submarine warfare. In the first 35 years, Applied Research Laboratories grew into a multi-sponsored government funded research unit and is now a U.S. Department of Defense University Affiliated Research Center. The talk focuses on the development of the institution, its research and development program in the early years – to about 1985, and includes examples of basic and applied underwater acoustics research, advancements in theory, experimentation, sonar engineering, and signal processing.

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