Vannevar Bush

Bush, Vannevar (vănˈəvər) [key], 1890–1974, American electrical engineer and physicist, b. Everett, Mass., grad. Tufts College (B.S., 1913). He went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1919; there he was professor (1923–32) and vice president and dean of engineering (1932–38). During this period he devised a network analyzer to simulate the performance of large electrical networks. He is best known for his design of the differential analyzer, an analog computer that could solve differential equations with as many as 18 independent variables. From 1939 until 1955 he was president of the Carnegie Institution. From 1941 to 1945 he was also the director of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development, where he administered the U.S. war effort to utilize and advance military technology. He directed such programs as the development of the first atomic bomb, the perfection of radar, and the mass production of sulfa drugs and penicillin. In 1955 he returned to MIT, retiring in 1971. Bush wrote Endless Horizons (1975) and Modern Arms and Free Men (1985).

See his autobiography (1971); J. M. Nyce et al., ed., From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine (1992); G. P. Zachary, Vannevar Bush: Engineer of the American Century (1997).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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