Vannevar Bush

Vannevar Bush (văn´əvər), 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 Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Vannevar Bush: Selected full-text books and articles

Technology, R&D, and the Economy
Bruce L. R. Smith; Claude E. Barfield.
Brookings Institutuion, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Bush versus Kilgore Debate" begins on p. 16
The Crisis of Contemporary Science
Kevles, Daniel J.
The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, Summer 1995
American Science in an Age of Anxiety: Scientists, Anticommunism, and the Cold War
Jessica Wang.
University of North Carolina Press, 1999
The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government, to 1950
Arthur B. Darling.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990
Insisting on the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land
Victor K. McElheny.
Perseus Books, 1998
Computer: A History of the Information Machine
Martin Campbell-Kelly; William Aspray.
Basic Books, 1996
Mid-Century: The Social Implications of Scientific Progress. Verbatim Account of the Discussions Held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Occasion of Its Mid-Century Convocation, March 31, April 1 and April 2, 1949
John Ely Burchard.
Technology Press and Wiley, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "Men Against Nature"
States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and Social Order
Sheila Jasanoff.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Reconstructing Sociotechnical Order: Vannevar Bush and US Science Policy"
For Better or for Worse: The Marriage of Science and Government in the United States
Alfred K. Mann.
Columbia University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Engineer and Educator, Vannevar Bush was the First Presidential Science Adviser" begins on p. 34
Memory and Methodology
Susannah Radstone.
Berg, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Digital Memory and the Problem of Forgetting"
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