Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Fundamental Physical Science

Pushing the boundaries of knowledge of the physical sciences

Showing 111 results for Fundamentals RSS
For millennia, materials have mattered—so much so that entire eras have been named for them. From the Stone Age to the Bronze Age to the Iron Age and beyond, breakthroughs in materials have defined what was technologically possible and fueled revolutions in fields as diverse as electronics, construction and medicine. Today, DARPA is pursuing the next big advances in this fundamentally important domain.
In early September, DARPA hosted Wait, What? A Future Technology Forum in St. Louis. There, 1400 people gathered for a national discussion and showcase of new ideas and advances in the technoscape, among them optical techniques for seeing around corners and neural interfaces that allow people with paralysis to control a prosthetic limb by thought alone. At the forum, DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO) ran a pair of breakout sessions titled Science, Disrupted: Beyond the Limits of Intuition, Computation and Measurement, with the hope of learning from attendees what they imagine could throttle up science into an even more powerful engine of discovery and technology than it is now.
DARPA’s Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents (ACDC) program recently awarded two contracts to develop prototypes of a transportable disposal system able to convert dangerous chemicals into safe output, such as harmless soil, using minimal consumables and creating no hazardous waste. If successful, the system could be used to safely destroy chemical warfare agent stockpiles on site without having to transport the highly toxic chemicals to a remote location for processing. The approaches could also ultimately find application in a variety of industrial chemical neutralization and clean-up efforts. The awardees are Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), San Antonio, Texas, and SRI International, Menlo Park, California.
This year, 2016, is a banner year for advocates of the power of ten. It is the 150th anniversary of Congress passing Public Law 39-183, otherwise known as the Metric Act of 1866, which for the first time made it legal to use the metric system for weights and measures in the United States. 2016 also marks the 100th anniversary of the American Metric Association (renamed the U.S. Metric Association in 1974), a non-profit organization created to advocate adoption of the metric system in U.S. commerce and education. American appreciation of the metric system has been less than avid but has gradually grown, in large part because of leadership from science and engineering communities.
The explosive growth of global digital connectivity has opened new possibilities for designing and conducting social science research. Once limited by practical constraints to experiments involving just a few dozen participants—often university students or other easily available groups—or to correlational studies of large datasets without any opportunity for determining causation, scientists can now engage thousands of diverse volunteers online and explore an expanded range of important topics and questions.