Photo of Raytheon BBN Technologies

Raytheon BBN Technologies

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Hardware

For sustained innovation through the engineering of first-of-a-kind, practical systems in acoustics, signal processing, and information technology.

Edward Campbell on the early history of Raytheon

Raytheon is the third largest defense contractor in the United States. It was founded as a radio tube manufacturer in 1922 and since then has grown through numerous acquisitions and research advancements to become a major electronics, defense, and aerospace manufacturer.

Raytheon BBN refers specifically to one of the company’s premier research and development centers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, BBN Technologies, which became a subsidiary of Raytheon in 2009. BBN was originally an acoustical consultancy founded by Leo Beraneck, Richard Bolt in 1948, both professors at MIT, and one of Bolt’s former students, Robert Newman. Their first contract was to help design the acoustics of the United Nations Assembly Hall in New York, a success so major that it earned them years of contracts designing acoustics for offices, apartments, performance spaces, and even dampening equipment for jet engines.

From this auspicious beginning, BBN would go on to work with DARPA extensively and to win the bid for creation of the ARPANET, the precursor of the modern internet. The company’s efforts in signal processing and computer networks has been instrumental to the foundations of the internet: the first public packet-switched network, the Transmission Control Protocol for data transfer, and the email address @ sign are among a few of the many contributions it has made.

Under Raytheon, the center is now at work on the next generation of computing and networks with its research into quantum communications.

By Casey Samulski