LIbrary Biographies Vannevar Bush

Vannevar Bush

Vannevar Bush was born on 11 March 1890 in Everett, Massachusetts. After graduating from Tufts College in 1913 with both a B.S. and M.S., Bush taught at the school for several years, while also doing research on submarine-detection for the US Navy. In 1919, he became an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he helped build an automated network analyzer to solve mathematical differential equations, and later, the first analog computers.

During his 25-year tenure at MIT, Bush was elected president of the Carnegie Institute in 1937. President Roosevelt appointed Bush as the Chairman of the National Defense Research Committee in 1940. In 1941, Roosevelt appointed him Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, which was created

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to coordinate research on weapons development. The Office of Scientific Research and Development oversaw the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb. Bush combined the work of the US military with research from universities - including MIT, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley - to speed up improvements in weapons technology.

In 1944, President Roosevelt sent Bush a letter asking for recommendations on future peacetime applications of the technologies developed during WWII. In 1945, Bush submitted his famous report, "Science, the Endless Frontier," which sparked the development of the National Science Foundation. That same year, Bush published an article entitled "As We May Think" in the Atlantic Monthly. The article presented his vision for a device called "memex" - an automated information management system, which later inspired many of the creators of the Internet.

After the war Bush worked in the private sector for a few years, then oversaw the creation of the National Science Foundation, which was established in 1950. He served on the Foundation's Advisory Committee for several years, then became chairman of the MIT Corporation, with which he remained involved for the remainder of his life.

Vannevar Bush died in 1974.