DoD’s Shyu praises Purdue national security advancements, thanks researchers for dedication

Heidi Shyu (center) undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, holds a burst disc from the first shot in HYPULSE, the shock tunnel housed at the Purdue Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility of the Purdue Applied Research Institute. From left are Joe Jewell, HYPULSE director, Purdue President Mung Chiang, Shyu, Executive Vice President for Research Karen Plaut, and PARI President and CEO Mark Lewis. (Purdue University photo/Kelsey LeFever)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, visited Purdue University this week to see two of its leading-edge facilities for national security and to speak to top cybersecurity researchers from around the nation. 

Shyu said the work she saw at the Robert L. and Terry L. Bowen Laboratory for Large-Scale Civil Engineering Research and the Purdue Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility is “exactly what our national security needs right now.

“We need to increase our nation’s capabilities and scale quickly,” Shyu said. She commended the researchers and students she met on the tours, thanking them for their dedication and lending their passions in science to advancements in defense.

“We have great needs in order to meet our national security goals, especially in hypersonics,” she said, adding how impressed she was with the progress she saw in the programs.

Shyu’s first stop was the Bowen Laboratory, where work is performed for Purdue Applied Research Institute’s (PARI) Infrastructure Research and Innovative Solutions (IRIS) division. IRIS develops solutions for sustainable, resilient and economic infrastructures to meet security and defense industry needs. Bowen Director Amit Varma led Shyu on a tour to see the national security work with military construction applications. Bowen also is celebrating 20 years in operation this week.

Next was the Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility, the 65,000-square-foot, state-of the art facility that opened in 2023. Researchers guided Shyu through their work at the Hypersonics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, the world-class HYPULSE shock tunnel and the first components of what will be Purdue’s Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel, which is under construction.

Shyu’s visit was particularly timely as, on Monday (April 1), the first shot in HYPULSE since the tunnel moved to West Lafayette was executed successfully. Joe Jewell, who leads the HYPULSE program, showed Shyu a burst disc from the test and explained what the results told him and the HYPULSE team about the tunnel’s performance. They joined PARI President and CEO Mark Lewis, Purdue President Mung Chiang and Executive Vice President for Research Karen Plaut in cutting a ribbon, symbolizing that HYPULSE is officially open for business.

“Just as the Boilermakers are leading us in basketball,” Chiang said, referring to the Purdue men’s team, which had a successful run in this year’s NCAA tournament, “Purdue is leading the world in national security. We are committed to helping the United States remain the world leader in defense technologies.”


The Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI) delivers timely advanced solutions to global challenges by combining applications-focused research expertise with state-of-the-art facilities. It leverages Purdue University’s world-class capabilities to offer practical customer-driven results in national security, global development and critical infrastructure.

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