Voices from DARPA
Episode 22: The Chemquistador
In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, Anne Fischer, a program manager since 2017 in the agency’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO), recounts how she has been applying a chemist’s mindset, which began taking hold in her as a child when her parents gave her a chemistry set, in her boundary-pushing portfolio of extreme-chemistry projects at DARPA. In one of them, she is overseeing research that could pump up the creativity and productivity of chemists by way of artificial intelligence that plans and optimizes molecule-making procedures and with automated equipment that synthesizes the actual molecules. In another of her projects, Fischer has her sights on molecule-based computing that could open the way to radically new and powerful ways to process information and store data. In yet another program, she is helping to develop one of the most unusual pickup trucks ever: it will have an engine that burns and destroys chemical warfare agents, producing power in the process. There’s plenty more to Fischer’s expansive molecular vision on the world and national defense.