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Iowa State University of Science and Technology (Iowa State) is a flagship public land-grant and space-grant research university in Ames, Iowa. It is the largest university in the state of Iowa and the third largest university in the Big 12 athletic conference. Iowa State is classified as a research university with "highest research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Iowa State is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), which consists of 60 leading research universities in North America.

Iowa State University's athletic teams, the Cyclones, compete in Division I of the NCAA and are a founding member of the Big 12 Conference. The Cyclones field 16 varsity teams and have won numerous NCAA national championships.

Iowa was the first state in the nation to accept the provisions of the Morrill Act of 1862. Iowa subsequently designated Iowa State as the land-grant college on March 29, 1864. From the start, Iowa Agricultural College focused on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all and that the university should teach liberal and practical subjects. These ideals are integral to the land-grant university.

In 1870, President Welch and I. P. Robert, professor of agriculture, held three-day farmers' institutes at Cedar Falls, Council Bluffs, Washington, and Muscatine. These became the earliest institutes held off-campus by a land grant institution and were the forerunners of 20th century extension.

While attempting to develop a faster method of computation, mathematics and physics professor John Vincent Atanasoff conceptualized the basic tenets of what would become the world's first electronic digital computer, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), during a drive to Illinois in 1937. These included the use of a binary system of arithmetic, the separation of computer and memory functions, and regenerative drum memory, among others. The 1939 prototype was constructed with graduate student Clifford Berry in the basement of the Physics Building.

The agriculture and forestry programs are consistently ranked top 15 in the world by QS. In engineering specialties, at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, Iowa State's biological/agricultural engineering program is ranked first, the mechanical and civil are ranked 9th and 16th nationally in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report. Almost all of the engineering specialities at ISU are ranked in the top 30 nationally. ISU's chemistry and physics programs are considered to be some of the best in the world and are ranked in the Top 100 globally and in Top 50 nationally. ISU's Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of the top journalism schools in the country and is notable for being among the first group of accredited journalism and mass communication programs. Greenlee is also cited as one of the leading JMC research programs in the nation, ranked 23rd in a publication by the AEJMC.

Iowa State is the birthplace of the first electronic digital computer, starting the world's computer technology revolution. Invented by mathematics and physics professor John Atanasoff and engineering graduate student Clifford Berry during 1937-42, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer pioneered important elements of modern computing.

ISU research for the government provided Ames Laboratory its start in the 1940s with the development of a highly efficient process for producing high-purity uranium for atomic energy. Today, Ames Laboratory continues its leading status in current materials research and focuses diverse fundamental and applied research strengths upon issues of national concern, cultivates research talent, and develops and transfers technologies to improve industrial competitiveness and enhance U.S. economic security. Ames Laboratory employs more than 430 full- and part-time employees, including more than 250 scientists and engineers. Students make up more than 20 percent of the paid workforce.

The Gardens has received a number of national, state, and local awards since its opening, and its rose gardens are particularly noteworthy. It was honored with the President's Award in 2000 by All American Rose Selections, Inc., which is presented to one public garden in the United States each year for superior rose maintenance and display: ÓFor contributing to the public interest in rose growing through its efforts in maintaining an outstanding public rose garden.