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New center makes archived classified weapons research more accessible.
July 18, 2019
Six people stand in a hallway; one is cutting a blue ribbon.

From left: Charlie Nakhleh (Executive Officer, Weapons), LeAnne Stribley (Associate Laboratory Director, Business Management), Mark Chadwick (Chief Operating Officer, ALDX), John Sarrao (Deputy Director for Science, Technology and Engineering), Michael Bernardin (Associate Laboratory Director, Weapons Physics) and Thom Mason (Laboratory Director).CREDIT: Los Alamos


“People working to keep our nation safe should be able to build on what’s already been learned.” - Julie Maze

Los Alamos has been up and running for more than 75 years, which means the Laboratory has accumulated quite the collection of classified weapons research materials in its vault. Most of these include official documents, drawings, and films produced by the Laboratory and other organizations in the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DoD). Some of the materials are papers or notebooks from scientists and engineers who’ve long been retired, and unless they belonged to someone famous (such as Robert Oppenheimer), they’ve long been forgotten. Until now.

In June, the Laboratory’s Weapons Research Services Division opened the National Security Research Center in the National Security Sciences Building. The center has increased access to the archived documents and other media in the vault. “We spruced up the vault to include a nice viewing room so that scientists and engineers can sit for a while and read historical documents,” says Program Manager Julie Maze. “We also created an easy-to-use search capability on the classified network so that researchers can look for hard-copy documents in the vault, then make specific requests to see them.”

The center is available not just to Los Alamos employees but also to members of the military and employees of other DOE laboratories. “People working to keep our nation safe should be able to build on what’s already been learned,” Maze says. “Now, more than ever, it’s important they have access to that information.”

A view of a timeline that stretches down the wall of a hallway.

The renovation also includes a 40-foot acrylic timeline featuring major events in the Laboratory’s history, presented in the context of larger global events that span from 1938 to the present.