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An Engineer Named Bush who was way Ahead of his Time

July 3rd, 2013

There was a Bush involved with the Presidency long before those two named George lived in the White House. Vannevar Bush effectively served his country as a de facto Presidential science advisor throughout the mid 20th Century. He played an important role in the genesis of the Manhattan Project and headed up the United States Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War 2.

His long career proves how engineering work remains a vital part of society throughout history.

The Beginnings of Vannevar Bush

Bush was born in 1890 in Everett, Massachusetts. He graduated from Tufts University in 1913 with both Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees. He followed up that schoolwork with a dual Doctorate in Engineering from both MIT and Harvard in 1917.

His early employment included a stint with the American Radio and Research Corporation (AMRAD) all while engaged in research work with the Electrical Engineering department at MIT. Soon after that, Bush co-invented a device called the S-Tube which enabled the nascent radio technology of the time to run off of AC power. The company Bush formed to market the S-Tube grew to become Raytheon.

After some innovative work designing analog computers, Bush was named a Vice-President and Dean of the Engineering school at MIT in 1932. But his most important work was soon to come.

Bush during World War 2

In 1938, with the world on the brink of war, Bush was named to the fledgling National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, a predecessor to NASA. After becoming chairman of this new organization and soon after the German success in Western Europe in 1940, Bush reached out to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the idea for the National Defense Research Committee, hoping to improve the collaboration between the military and civilian sides of engineering.

The next year, FDR created the OSRD, naming Bush as its chairman. Both the NDRC and OSRD served a vital role during World War 2, with the latter organization helping with the initial development of the Manhattan Project. Many of the engineering feats that helped the Allies win World War 2 were projects led by Vannevar Bush, who continued to serve his country and practice of engineering until his death in 1974.

The rich career of Vannevar Bush should inspire all engineers. If you want to take your engineering work to the next level, talk to the staff at The Talley Group. One of the leading engineering recruiting firms in the Seattle area; they can help you be the best engineer possible.

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