• The ability to manufacture very quickly. This capability makes possible the response to unanticipated situations like wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Structural, functional, and smart materials. Many fundamental changes in warfighting capabilities have sprung from new or improved materials.
• Mathematics. There continues to be value in supporting very intuitive people who are able to identify patterns in very complex data.
• Advances in microelectronics. Scientists will need to find a new way to continue Moore’s law using three-dimensional constructs and will need to learn how to make monolithic analog-to-digital chips.
• Communication networks. The network may become more important than the node (e.g., the airplanes that it supports).
• Quantum information science. It can be envisaged that this technology will have a major impact as scientists learn to operate at atomic level and shrink our sensors.
• Real-time accurate language translation. U.S. forces do not necessarily understand the culture or the language in the operational area, and so they need automated translators that are 95 percent accurate 95 percent of time (i.e., equivalent to a level IV linguist). A translator system could be embedded in a helmet equipped with a microphone and speakers. Although English is currently the preferred language globally, this may not be the case much longer.
• Trustworthy integrated circuits (ICs). DARPA has only a couple of foundries in the United States; most ICs are made offshore. Can we be sure that electronics manufactured abroad have nothing added or deleted that would lead to a catastrophic failure?
In conclusion, Tether asked how we can ensure that tomorrow’s youth will learn S&T. He believes that the result of such study must lead to something exciting, and proffered that one might change the 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-grade syllabi to include reading one science fiction book per week. In interviewing job candidates, he commented, he always looks for imagination.
The session then turned to the four members of Panel 1 who had been asked to prepare brief remarks on the panel’s topic, emerging S&T in the next 15 years.
The first panelist was Thomas Russell, director of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, who began his remarks noting an underlying theme: seeking to educate people who can solve challenging problems. He said that academics are risk-averse and seek to ensure that research is successful even if it turns out that only the knowledge benefit rather than a deployable technology is applicable to future work. He noted that in the Air Force, there are six disruptive basic research areas identified in the “6.1” category (i.e., DOD-funded basic research): (1) engineered materials, including metamaterials and plasmonics; (2) quantum information sciences, with applicability to cryptological problems; (3) cognitive neuroscience; (4) nano science and engineering—although Russell conceded that nanotechnology and nanobiology have been talked about for two decades; (5) synthetic biology—he pointed out the importance for vaccine development of getting beyond the use of eggs and tobacco to produce them in order to have a rapid-response capability; and (6) the modeling of human behavior. Russell noted that, although these six areas are the ones that the Department has identified, in looking to the future one must not forget the past. He gave the following as an example: in the Air Force, aerospace sciences will continue to be important; the future is in autonomous systems in which the factor of trust will be paramount. Other areas of ongoing importance will be information assurance, network sciences, and thermal sciences—important for energy sciences and electron-phonon coupling. For the design of materials, there will be three-dimensional materials with n-dimensions in functionality. He also touched on the question of how humans interact with machines. Fractionated systems must be brought together, and we will require digital-based systems that are more generic. A question will be how to couple quantum architectures and how to bring them together in real time.
The next panelist to present brief remarks was Lyle Schwartz, past chair of the ASM Materials Education Foundation. This speaker decided against the approach of providing a list of critical technologies in favor of examining