Our Legacy

Heart of Innovation


Research on nuclear weapons has provided the United States with the ability to deter the use of nuclear weapons… throughout the past half century."

—Edward Teller, Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics

Since its inception, the "Rad Lab at Livermore" (which became Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1979) has helped the nation meet important challenges through innovations in science and technology. The initial challenge, the one that set the stage for all that followed, was the design of nuclear weapons. ​

Multiple MIRV warheads being placed on platform

Livermore’s Major Contributions to U.S. Nuclear Deterrence

Our scientists and engineers developed diagnostic instrumentation and led the design and testing of many thermonuclear devices to support the U.S. deterrence posture.

Keeping the U.S. and our allies safe by putting 18 active and retired systems in the U.S. nuclear stockpile

The Giants of the Nuclear Testing Era 

Learn about a few of our pioneers who led nuclear weapon innovation

Robert Clough sitting in an office

Robert Clough

“Engineering makes concepts a reality. Robert Clough drove the engineering side of the Weapons Program, so he was pivotal in putting these weapons in the stockpile and maintaining them.”

Read more about Robert Clough  

Dan Patterson standing outside on a sunny day

Dan Patterson

“Dan Patterson refined modern thermonuclear design. Equally importantly, he helped lead the transition from live testing to stockpile stewardship.”

Read more about Dan Patterson  

Seymour Sack sitting in front of a chalkboard with equations

Seymour Sack

“Seymour leaves behind a large family of scientists who owe to him the insistence on excellence he passed on to the design community. We stand on the shoulders of this giant and we shall miss him.”

Read more about Seymour Sack  

LLNL Through the Decades

Welcome to an overview of our stories, our people, and our history. Please use this interactive timeline to explore in depth the people, programs, and events that have shaped the vibrant history of our laboratory.