Episode: Episode 35: Maxwell’s Disciple
Pub date: 2020-11-05
In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, Tom Rondeau, a program manager since 2016 — first in the agency’s Microsystems Technology Office before switching over this year to the Strategic Technology Office — takes listeners on a kaleidoscopic tour of his efforts to usher wireless technology into a new era. Anchored in an emerging technology arena known as software-defined radio (SDR), his programs dive deeply into the pathbreaking hardware, software, computational techniques, power efficiencies, and innovation communities that it will take to do more with the electromagnetic spectrum than ever before. Think of every cellphone call ever made, of satellite communication, and now of billions of devices communicating wirelessly via apps and the internet. And now think beyond all of that. The tattoos of Maxwell’s Equations — which famously capture the behavior of electromagnetic waves as discerned by the 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell — on Tom’s forearms reveal just how devoted he is to his technology-development mission. “I look down at those every day and have a moment of awe about what we have been able to do,” he tells listeners. And then he has another moment of awe as he imagines how much more he might be able to pull off as a DARPA program manager.
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