Awesome Labs Index

Six years’ worth of incredible places.

2007

National Wind Institute
Texas Tech University
Create and test structures that can withstand hurricane-force winds.

Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC)
New Mexico Tech
Build and test explosives in the deserts of New Mexico.

FHWA/NHTSA National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC)
George Washington University
Make cars safer... by crashing them.

Lightning Research Lab
University of Florida
Learn about lightning by creating multimillion-volt bolts during actual storms.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
USGS
Live on and study one of the most active volcanos.

2008

Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
University of California at Berkeley
Refine algorithms and software that power SETI's search for intelligent life.

Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
University of Wisconsin
Contribute to biomedical research with the center's 1300 rhesus monkeys.

Subzero Science and Engineering Laboratory
Montana State University
Use the deep freeze lab to study the effects of an -80°F environment.

Center for Integrated Biosystems
Utah State University
Clone animals that will be used in genetics research.

SLAC National Accelerator Lab
Stanford University
Hurl electrons at nearly 670 million mph to create superpowerful x-rays.

Space Systems Laboratory
University of Maryland
Test equipment headed for space and the deepest seas in a 367,000-gallon tank.

Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Build the robot of your dreams.

Game Design Initiative
Cornell University
Design and build your own video game.

Interactive Telecommunications Program
New York University
Creatively explore the latest technology in this "center for the recently possible."

Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories
Boston University
Study some of the world's deadliest pathogens.

2009

Barton Lab
Northern Kentucky University
Explore caves to find alien-like microbes living inside them.

Dawson Lab
University of California at Merced
Swim with jellyfish swarms to find out how they power the ocean's currents.

Transportation Design Program
College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
Build concepts and prototypes for the cars of the future.

StarCAVE
UCSD Desert Archaeology Field School (Fanan, Jordan)
Explore ancient worlds in the most advanced virtual-reality room.

Propulsion Research Center
University of Alabama in Huntsville
Build and test the next generation of rockets.

Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA)
University of Houston College of Architecture
Design habitats to support life in outer space's unforgiving elements.

Engines and Energy Conversion Lab (EECL)
Colorado State University
Learn how to make the world's biggest engines more efficient.

2010

Experimental Mine
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Learn how to tame explosions everywhere from movie sets to quarry walls in this 19-acre mine.

Canopy Ecology/Biology
New College Florida, Peruvian Amazon
Study wildlife that never touches the ground on a 10-day trip through the Amazon.

Toy Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Design and build your own prototype of a toy.

Forensic Analysis Lab
North Carolina State University
Learn how to solve murder cases by analyzing human remains.

Marine Option Program
University of Hawaii
Practice the life of a scientific diver, observing and studying wildlife and wreckage in the deep.

2011

Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory
University of California at Berkeley
Build systems that help disabled patients stand on their own.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Build robotic space vessels and test them in a dusty simulated Mars yard.

Pilot Brewery
University of California at Davis
Brew your own beer.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Research and explore the deepest parts of the ocean with the help of underwater robots.

Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
California Institute of Technology
Learn about seismic activity at the edge of the planet's tectonic plates.

US Army Research Laboratory
Aberdeen Proving Ground
Build fruit-fly-sized military robots.

Reed Nuclear Reactor
Reed College
Operate a 250-kilowatt nuclear reactor.

Creative Machines Lab
Cornell University
Fabricate human body parts with the lab's army of 3-D printers.

Visualizing Science Initiative
University of Southern California
Incorporate science into the art of special effects.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Study the universe from the 82-foot tall radio telescope dishes in New Mexico's Very Large Array.

Human Performance Wing
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Study and improve pilots' concentration with non-invasive brain stimulation.

2012

DHS Center of Excellence for Explosives Detection, Mitigation and Response
University of Rhode Island
Build and detonate improvised explosives to test new detection techniques.

Shock Compression Laboratory
Harvard University
Simulate planets, asteroids and moons crashing into each other with a gun that launches projectiles at 6000 mph.

Plasma Physics Laboratory
Princeton University
Heat up plasma to 100 million degrees to make a miniature sun.

Trauma Mechanics Research Initiative
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Simulate IED blasts with compressed helium to find out how they affect the brain.

Center for Defense Chemistry
Cranfield University
Analyze the chemical artifacts of a bombing to find its origins.

Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic
University of California at Irvine
Use a laser that's a million times more powerful than TNT to test the limits of living cells.