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Bush, Vannevar

Born: 1890 AD
Died: 1974 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Engineers

1890 – Born on March 11th in Everett, Massachusetts. American electrical engineer and administrator who developed the Differential Analyzer and oversaw government mobilization of scientific research during World War II.

1913 – Bush received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Tufts College (Medford, Massachusetts).

1916 – He returned to graduate studies and received a doctorate in electrical engineering that was awarded jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), then located in Boston, and Harvard University, in nearby Cambridge.

         – Bush returned to Tufts as an instructor and soon became involved in antisubmarine research.

1919 – Bush joined the electrical engineering department at MIT.

1922 – He was among the founders of what would become the Raytheon Company, a manufacturer of electronic parts.

1931 – His most successful machine, known as the Differential Analyzer, was operational. Utilizing a complicated arrangement of gears and cams driven by steel shafts, the Differential Analyzer could obtain practical (albeit approximate) solutions to problems which up to that point had been prohibitively difficult.

1932 – Under the new MIT president Karl T. Compton, Bush became the first dean of engineering.

1935 – The so-called Rockefeller Differential Analyzer (funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation), was built and proved the most powerful computer available before the arrival of digital computers.

1939 – Bush approached Roosevelt about forming an organization, the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), to organize research of interest to the military and to inform the armed services about new technologies.

1940 – The NDRC was formed with Bush as its chairman on June 27th.

1941 – The Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) was created with Bush as its chairman.

1944 – He engineered a request from Roosevelt to prepare a report outlining how science, which had helped the nation in war, could assist the country in the postwar era.

1945 – He set in motion the activities that would culminate in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

         – An article entitled “As We May Think,” published in the Atlantic Monthly, Bush proposed a device that he called the Memex—an indexed, archival, microfilm machine for cross-referencing and retrieving information.

1949 – Fearful of military control of scientific research, Bush published a work of both practical politics and political theory, Modern Arms and Free Men.

1974 – Died on June 28th in Belmont, Massachusetts.