On this day in 1974 American engineer, inventor, science administrator and computer pioneer Vannevar Bush passed away. Bush was born in Everett, Massachusetts on March 11, 1890. He received both bachelor of science and master of science degrees at Tufts College in 1913, and in 1916 he received his doctorate in engineering jointly from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
Bush was involved in many wartime computer projects. He was appointed chairman of the National Defense Research Committee, and later became the head of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II. In his essay “As We May Think” published in 1945, Bush envisioned hypertext as used by the internet. He created many significant inventions, among them a differential analyzer, an analog computer that could solve differential equations with as many as 18 independent variables.
He received many awards for his accomplishments, including the AIEE Edison Medal, the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, the IRI Medal from the Industrial Research Institute and the National Medal of Science, which was awarded to him by President Lyndon Johnson in 1963. He died from pneumonia at the age of 84 and was buried in a private ceremony in Massachusetts. Shortly after, a public memorial was held by MIT in his honor wherein Jerome Wiesner, then president of MIT stated, “No American has had greater influence in the growth of science and technology than Vannevar Bush.”
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