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.: August 2007 --> How to Become a Mad Scientist for DARPA

How to Become a Mad Scientist for DARPA

» How to Become a Mad Scientist for DARPA

In the grand ballroom, amid flashing blue lights and rock guitar riffs, 50 or so program managers take turns laying out their goals for the next two years of DARPA funding. The guy in charge of materials science wants to support research into something called "programmable matter." Eventually, he says, we'll have a blob of goo that can form itself into a hammer in one instant, a wrench in the next. "It's an instant toolkit—a universal spare part!" Another manager shows trippy slides of veinous bio-scapes, and wonders how we might "killproof" our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's looking for proposals to create a universal immune cell that can be used to protect soldiers from any deadly pathogen. One by one, the DARPA administrators sketch out their nutty techno-fantasies for an audience of 3,000 professors and engineers. And they've got billions of dollars to make those fantasies come true.
Let me repeat a question I asked yesterday: How do you get this job?

 [ 08.14.07 ]



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