Focus on the Future

History has demonstrated that basic science is often unpredictable. When managed successfully it produces groundbreaking and game changing technologies for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force and society as a whole. The United States depends on science, technology and innovative engineering to protect the American people and advance our national interests.

In this video, we focus on AFOSR’s investment in the six basic research areas that have the potential to create foundations for new disruptive technologies and solve formerly unsolvable problems for the Department of Defense. These areas are organized and managed in five scientific directorates: Dynamical Systems and Control (RTA), Quantum & Non-Equilibrium Processes (RTB), Information, Decision, and Complex Networks (RTC), Complex materials and Devices (RTD), and Energy, Power, and Propulsion (RTE). The research activities managed within each directorate are summarized on our website.

Dr. Russell, the former director of AFOSR (current Director of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory) highlights AFOSR’s focus to identify cutting edge scientific principles that will lead to a future Air Force unlike the one we have today.

The focus of AFOSR is on research areas that offer significant and comprehensive benefits to our national warfighting and peacekeeping capabilities. The ground breaking work of our scientists and engineers will yield significant results well into the future!

What disruptive technology do you envision in the future?

Basic Research at AFOSR: Ensuring Our National Security & Making Our Lives Easier

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What is Basic Research?
Basic research is the foundation of all scientific and engineering discovery and progress.  It is what leads to new inventions and concepts—many of which are revolutionary.  And the great thing about basic research is the mystery of it: while basic research investigators may start off trying to prove a particular theory, many times they end up going off in an entirely new direction, or their results are ultimately employed in a dramatically different way than they initially envisioned.

Where We Came From & Why Basic Research is Important
Dr. Vannevar Bush, the Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, was the first to formally address the issue of post-war defense research. His July 1945 report, Science, the Endless Frontier, clearly made the case for a civilian-based, and civilian controlled, research program. The leadership of the soon to be independent United States Air Force was also committed to a civilian, or extramural program, but one under their control, and followed through by establishing its own research arm in February 1948. The U.S. Army and Navy established their research organizations as well.  The Air Force, recognizing the importance of basic research, established AFOSR in 1951, dedicated specifically to mining the basic research talent in U.S. universities and industry laboratories.  Overseas offices were subsequently established to identify promising foreign research accomplishments.

How Basic Research Impacts You
One of the primary investigators whom we fund recently characterized the long term successful results of what we do as “the stealth utility of innovation.”  An example to make the point: as a laser expert, he noted that it was military basic research that funded the invention of the laser, beginning in 1951.  And he pointed out, that if all the lasers in the world stop working, the world would come to a stop as well. Lasers are at the heart of our time keeping, our transportation network (the Global Positioning System), our energy system, and in entertainment, finances and electronics applications. This singular “stealth utility,” that regulates much of our state-of-the-art technology, is the result of defense-funded basic research and is taken for granted by everyone.  It exists because AFOSR and our sister service organizations made the research possible—not only for our mutual defense but a wide variety of beneficial applications for society in general. In future posts we will discuss the reach and application of many of these “stealthy” discoveries that not only ensure our security, but work invisibly in the background of our society, making our lives a lot easier: from lasers to computers, from nanotechnology to aerospace, from bio-inspired devices to holographic displays, and what’s in store for the future as well. What technology could you not live without?

A Week in Review: 4/14/13 – 4/20/13

4/15/2013

Dr. Partick G. Carrick, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Acting Director and Director, Basic Science Office, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
In March, Dr. Pat Carrick, SES, replaced Dr. Russell as (Acting) Director of AFOSR. In his new role, Dr. Carrick guides the management of the entire basic research investment for the United States Air Force. Dr. Carrick leads a staff of 200 scientists, engineers and administrators in Arlington, VA and foreign technology offices in London, Tokyo and Santiago, Chile. Each year, AFOSR selects sponsors and manages revolutionary basic research that impacts the future Air Force.
http://www.af.mil/information/bios/bio.asp?bioID=9852

4/15/2013

Cleaner fuel in the works for military jets
Alternative fuel is playing an even bigger role in the U.S. government’s aviation plan. Within the next year the latest National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan will be released and a large portion of it focuses on alternative fuels. Wright Patterson Air Force Base is playing a leading role, in part because it can moderately scale up lab production for commercial companies. WVXU’s Ann Thompson took a tour to see how it’s made, where it’s tested and what unusual samples the Air Force is storing. She reports in “Focus on Technology.”
http://www.wvxu.org/post/cleaner-fuel-works-military-jets

4/16/2013

Small in Size, Big On Power: New Microbatteries the Most Powerful Yet
Though they may be little, they are fierce. The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery — and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye.
The National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research supported this work.
http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130416151929.htm