In June, 1962, the Materials Research Laboratory was established as an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary laboratory of the College of Engineering,1 operated jointly by the Departments of Ceramic Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Geology, Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineering, and Physics.2 Its purpose is to conduct a program of experimental and theoretical research on the mechanical, electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of solids and liquids.3 Construction of the MRL building began in 1963, and original funding for the facilities was undertaken in part by the Atomic Energy Commission and the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense;4 in addition to those sources, continued support is derived from the National Science Foundation, the Energy Research and Development Agency, and the State of Illinois.5
The administrative staff of the MRL consists of a Director and a Steering Committee composed of one member from each department involved in the operation of the Lab.6 In 1973, an External Advisory Committee, composed of members from non-University institutions and organizations, was appointed to advise the Director and Steering Committee, and an Internal Advisory Committee, with members from divisions within the University, was instituted to consult with the Steering Committee on laboratory programs and procedures.7
MRL facilities include an Accelerator Laboratory, an Optical Laboratory, a Cryogenic Laboratory, a Microstructure Facility, a Chemical Analysis Facility and a computer system.8 The MRL staff uses University facilities, such as the Electron Microscope Laboratory, and has cooperated with the Institute of Environmental Studies and the Department of Nuclear Engineering to establish a neutron activation analysis laboratory.9
1. Materials Research Laboratory Annual Technical Report, 1962-63, p. 1.
2. Ibid., 1974-75, p. 1.
3. Research in the Materials Research Laboratory, 1974, p. 1.
4. Board of Trustees Transactions, 52nd Report, June 19, 1963, p. 540.
5. Materials Research Laboratory Annual Technical Report, 1974-75, p. 2.
6. Ibid., 1962-63, p. 1.
7. Ibid., 1974-75, pp. 1-2.
8. Ibid., 1975-76, p. 4-5.
9. Ibid., 1975-76, p. 4