Vannevar Bush was born on 11 March 1890 in Everett, Massachusetts to Richard Perry and Emma Linwood (Paine) Bush. He graduated from Tufts College with a B.S. in 1913. In September 1916 he married Phoebe Davis in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He earned a joint doctorate in engineering from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1917. In 1919 he returned to MIT to become a professor (1923-32) and vice president and dean of engineering (1932-38). He was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) in 1924. 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, Washington, D.C.
From 1941 to 1945 he was also the director of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), where he administered the U.S. war effort to utilize and advance military technology. He personally advised President Roosevelt on technological matters and organizing the nation´s academic researchers to attack military problems. 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. From 1957 to 1962 he was Chairman of Merck and Co., the large pharmaceutical company, based in New Jersey. He received numerous honors including the Lamme Medal from the AIEE (1935), and the AIEE Edison Medal in 1943 "For his contribution to the advancement of electrical engineering, particularly through the development of new applications in mathematics to engineering problems, and for his eminent service to the nation in guiding the war research programs." He was awarded the National Medal of Science, presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson in January 1964.
Bush wrote Endless Horizons (1946) and Modern Arms and Free Men (1949), although he is probably best known for his July 1945 article, As We May Think. He passed away on 28 June 1974 in Belmont, MA.
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