The Department of Mad Scientists

  • by Michael Belfiore
  • Narrated by Michael Belfiore
  • 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The first-ever inside look at DARPA - the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - the maverick and controversial group whose futuristic work has had amazing civilian and military applications, from the Internet to GPS to driverless carsAmerica's greatest idea factory isn't Bell Labs, Silicon Valley, or MIT's Media Lab. It's the secretive, Pentagon-led agency known as DARPA. Founded by Eisenhower in response to Sputnik and the Soviet space program, DARPA mixes military officers with sneaker-wearing scientists, seeking paradigm-shifting ideas in varied fields - from energy, robotics, and rockets to peopleless operating rooms, driverless cars, and planes that can fly halfway around the world in just hours. DARPA gave birth to the Internet, GPS, and mind-controlled robotic arms. Its geniuses define future technology for the military and the rest of us.Michael Belfiore was given unprecedented access to write this first-ever popular account of DARPA. Visiting research sites across the country, he watched scientists in action and talked to the creative, fearlessly ambitious visionaries working for and with DARPA. Much of DARPA's work is classified, and this book is full of material that has barely been reported in the general media. In fact, DARPA estimates that only 2 percent of Americans know much of anything about the agency. This fascinating read demonstrates that DARPA isn't so much frightening as it is inspiring - it is our future.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


A few slices of insight on program management & leadership are buried deep under a pile of self-indulgent hero worship & uncritical analysis.

This is popcorn listening. I want to call it the equivalent of a episode of oprah. It takes a sexy topic and shines absolutely no light on it. I managed to trundle through the entire program, but I don't feel any better for crossing the finish line.
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- Patrick

A geeks idea of great reading

Yes, I am a geek and yes this book satisfies my tech itch completely. I have always wanted to work for NASA because I thought they were at the cutting edge of physics and science… but now I want to work for DARPA!
This book tells just enough about the history of the technology we use everyday, as well as those we will use tomorrow. Great listen!
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- Daniel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-23-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio