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Vannevar Bush
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    (March 11, 1890-June 28, 1974)
    Born in Everett, Massachusetts
    Electrical engineer, inventor and science administrator
    Founding member of Raytheon (1922)
    Built the differential analyzer, an analog computer that could solve differential equations with up to 18 variables (1927)
    President of the Carnegie Institution for Science (1938-55)
    Headed the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War II
    Held 49 patents
    Awarded the National Medal of Science (1963)
    The single biggest recipient of contracts from the OSRD was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Bush just happened to be dean of the engineering school.
    He turned down funding requests from Robert H. Goddard, saying 'I don't understand how a serious scientist or engineer can play around with rockets.'
    Even after the success of the German V-1 and V-2 rockets, he claimed that intercontinental ballistic missiles would not be technically feasible 'for a long time to come, if ever.'
    He envisioned 'a technologically advanced America governed by the masters of science and technology.'
    He got his first patent for a surveying machine he created as part of his master's thesis research.
    As head of OSRD, he played a key role in the development of the atomic bomb, radar, the proximity fuse and mass production of penicillin.
    Radar developer Alfred Loomis said, 'Of the men whose death in the summer of 1940 would have been the greatest calamity for America, the President is first, and Dr. Bush would be second or third.'
    In the essay 'As We May Think' (1945), he predicted 'wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them,' foreshadowing the internet and hypertext.

Credit: C. Fishel

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