Vice Admiral Nancy Brown
Adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
In the future, technology will be both the means of waging war and the key to keeping peace. Brown has literally written the book: Her Joint Net-Centric Operations Campaign Plan is the strategy to "better integrate and synchronize joint community transformation and maximize joint warfighting capabilities." Sit up straight when you read that, soldier.
Grenier has done more than anyone to bring the power of robots to the U.S. military. Though she resigned as chair in October, Grenier remains on the board of iRobot, whose stair-climbing, video-shooting PackBot has already made our soldiers safer and more effective.
When she isn't talking about number theory and computational algebra (and who isn't these days?), Landau is a leading researcher and expert on wiretapping, computer encryption, and security issues.
University at Buffalo
Takeuchi holds more patents than any other American woman. After 23 years at Greatbatch—where, among other feats, she invented the battery used in the implantable defibrillator—she now runs an academic research program.
Sure, the Jodie Foster role in Contact was based on her, but Tarter's current adventure is operating the new Allen Telescope Array, a massive intergalactic search tool that will speed innovation in communications, GPS technology, weather, and defense. And maybe find E.T.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.