Why and when did RAND stop doing physical science? Or do they still?

The RAND corporation used to be famous for doing reseach in areas very close to the core of the natural sciences. Even mathemetician John Nash did a stint or two there, working, if memory serves, on a weapons program. In the nineteen-forties, RAND conducted a major study on the feasibility of an artificial satellite. As a government weapons contractor during Nash’s time, the organization had to mount some fairly impressive security measures. The average person thought of RAND as a haunt of technical and scientific genius, much like MIT or CalTech.

Now, however, whenever we hear of RAND it’s more likely that they’ve completed a study in the area of public health, or social welfare, or criminology. You never hear of them doing natural science or engineering work anymore. How and when did this shift occur? Is there still a double-top-secret area at RAND where they do government contracted weapons reseach, or do other work that is primarily physical science or engineering, and we just don’t hear about it because it is so secret?

Like many another corporation, RAND has diversified over the years. According to their own website, technology and national security are still areas of research, as well as the social science areas you mentioned. I don’t know that RAND ever did physical science work, being more concerned with areas like National Security-related subjects, cryptography, theoretical sciences, etc.