Firefight Over The Weapons Labs

At first glance, DYNA3D is a rousing success story of beating swords into plowshares at Uncle Sam's vast weapons laboratories. Developed by the bomb wizards at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., DYNA is sophisticated computer software for simulating the workings of nuclear warheads. Because it can be used to study how metal deforms, it's now also being applied to designing everything from stronger beer cans to safer cars. And lab researchers have spun off Livermore Software Technology Corp. to create and sell commercial versions of the software. "DYNA is a classic case where the national labs have really helped American industry with a technology that was developed for weapons," says laboratory engineer Robert G. Whirley.

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