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Library Luminary – Vannevar Bush Godfather of the Internet and of Information science. (1890 – 1974). Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1890. Son of a Universalist minister, descended from sea captains. Graduated from Tufts College in 1913 with a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering.
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Library Luminary – Vannevar BushGodfather of the Internet and of Information science (1890 – 1974)
Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1890. Son of a Universalist minister, descended from sea captains. Graduated from Tufts College in 1913 with a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering. PhD studies at Harvard and MIT, received joint PhD degree in 1917. Thesis: Oscillating-Currrent Circuits: An Extension of the Theory of Generalized Angular Velocities, with Applications to the Coupled Circuit and the Artificial Transmission Line, 1916. Biographical data
Worked at National Research Council during World War 1, developed anti-submarine warfare technologies. Returned to teach at MIT after the war. Developed a thermostatic switch and formed a company, Spencer Thermostat Company, 1922. Formed a company, American Appliance Company, to market a new invention, the S-tube, which enabled a radio to operate from a single power source. That company later came to be known as Raytheon, the giant defense contractor (“Vannevar Bush,” 2013). Biographical data, continued.
The Differential Analyzer was an analog mechanical computer that could solve differential equations with up to 18 independent variables. Previously, one of Bush’s masters students, Herbert R. Stewart, had developed the product integraphin 1925, a device for solving first-order differential equations. Harold Hazen, another of Bush’s masters students, proposed and succeeded in extending the device to handle second-order differential equations (“Differential Analyzer,” 2013) Inventions by Bush and his associates – the Differential Analyzer(Herbert Stewart and Harold Hazen, 1927) The Differential Analyzer at work
Shannon, under Bush’s tutelage, proved that Boolean algebra could be used to simplify the arrangement of the relays that were the building blocks of the electro- mechanical automatic telephone exchanges of the day. His communications model, at right, a process of signal transmission, from source to destination, applied metrics to message parts based on their statistical probability and helped predict the likelihood of errors and the best way to minimize them. (Case, 2002) (“Claude Shannon,” 2013) Inventions by Bush and his students – Digital Circuit Design Theory (Claude Shannon, 1937)
Bush was commissioned to design and develop a rapid analytical machine to aid in codebreaking. The project went over budget and was not delivered until 1938, when it was found to be unreliable in service. Nonetheless, it was an important step toward creating such a device (Zachary, 1997). In a paper called “Instrumental Analysis", he suggested building an electro- mechanical machine to accomplish Charles Babbage’s goals for the Analytical Engine. This was almost exactly one hundred years after Babbage began designing his Analytical Engine (Norman, 2013). In the same paper Bush wrote that four billion punched cards were being used annually in electric tabulating machines. This amounted to ten thousand tons of punched cards. (Norman, 2013). Inventions by Bush and his associates – Rapid Analytical Machine
Inventions by Bush and his associates – Proximity FuzeUnder Bush’s leadership the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) developed a proximity fuze, a fuzeinside an artillery shell that detonated upon making contact with its target. During WW2, the proximity fuze was credited with three significant effects:1. Provided defense from Japanese Kamikaze attacks in the Pacific: sevenfold increase in the effectiveness of 5-inch antiaircraft artillery. 2. Important part of radar-controlled antiaircraft batteries that neutralized German aerial bomb attacks on England. 3. Effectively used in Europe starting in the Battle of the Bulge against German divisions, and changed the tactics of land warfare. (“Proximity Fuze,” 2013)
Professional positions held: 1. President, Carnegie Institution for Science. 1938. 2. Vice Chairman, Chairman, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. 1938. 3. Chairman, National Defense Research Committee. 1940. 4. Director, Office of Scientific Research and Development. 1941. 5. Manhattan Project, Atomic Energy Commission. 1947. 6. Chairman, National Science Foundation. 7. Board of Directors, American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T). 1947-1962. 8. Board of Directors, Merck Corporation. 1949-1962. 9. Regent, Smithsonian Institution. 1943-1955.
1. AIEE’s Edison Medal. 1943. 2. Public Welfare Medal, National Academy of Sciences. 1945 3. IRI Medal, Industrial Research Institute. 1949. 4. Medal of Merit (with bronze oak leaf cluster). 1948. 5. National Medal of Science. 1963. 6. Atomic Pioneers Award. 1970. 7. Knight Commander, OBE. 1948. 8. French Legion of Honor. 1955. Awards received:
1. PhD dissertation, Oscillating-Current Circuits: An Extension of the Theory of Generalized Angular Velocities, with Applications to the Coupled Circuit and the Artificial Transmission Line. 1916. 2. Principles of Electrical Engineering (with William H. Timble). 1922. 3. As We May Think. Atlantic Monthly. July, 1945. 4. Science, the Endless Frontier: a Report to the President. Washington, D. C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. OCLC 1594001. July, 1945. 5. Modern Arms and Free Men: a Discussion of the Role of Science in Preserving Democracy. New York: Simon and Schuster. OCLC 568075. 6. Operational Circuit Analysis. New York: J. Wiley & Sons. OCLC 2167931. 7. Endless Horizons. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press. OCLC. 1152058. 1946. 8. Science Is Not Enough. New York: Morrow. OCLC 520108. 1949, 1967. 9. Pieces of the Action. New York: Morrow. OCLC 93366. 1970. Written works:
Vannevar Bush’s Ideas and Contributions to Information Science
“As We May Think,” an article Bush wrote for the July, 1945 Atlantic Monthly, lays out many of his ideas and visions for the future information age, many of which are focused on information science, many of which have yet to be fully developed or exploited (Zachary, 1997). Bush’s Ideas and Contributions to Information Science
Bush’s Memex Machine, “a device in which a person stores all his books, records, and communications” (Bush, 1945). “Mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility” (Bush, 1945). Designed to be “an enlarged intimate supplement to [human] memory (Bush, 1945). Bush’s Ideas and contributions to Information Science - the MEMEX machine The Memex Machine
Bush goes to the heart of the information question. He says the lag between the proliferation of knowledge and our ability to create technologies, methodologies to make that knowledge useful lies in the bias towards “indexing” and the artificiality (storing data alphabetically or numerically) that indexing systems provide (Bush, 1945). The human mind, Bush wrote, “does not work that way,” following rules to track information from one subclass to another. Instead, Bush says, the human mind “operates by association” (Bush, 1945). The MEMEX machine mimics that “selection by association” of ideas, and forms “associative trails” that can be portable, transferable, inheritable. (Zachary, 1997). Bush’s Ideas and contributions to Information Science –More ideas about the MEMEX machine
For the rest of his life, Bush pondered on the significance of the memex machine idea (Zachary, 1997): Such a machine would greatly reduce information overload; Such a machine could record intimate thoughts, including commentary and criticism, (and using a line from Shannon, eliminate errors and flaws along the way); Such a machine could give rise to thinking aids that could greatly aid human-machine consciousness, expanding human thought capacity. Bush’s Ideas and contributions to Information Science –More ideas about the MEMEX machine
He was the first to see the importance of venture capital and how angel investors, in conjunction with major research universities, could give rise to whole new industries. Via one of his students, Frederick Terman, he helped to create Silicon Valley. His idea of associative trails gave rise to hypertext (Ted Nelson). His predictions are readily apparent in everyday items such as the Ipod, the Ipad, the Kindle, etc. “Bush’s great insight was realizing that there’s more value in the connections between data than in the data itself.” (Zachary, 1997) Bush’s Ideas and contributions to Information Science –Why is Vannevar Bush a luminary?
Homework assignment from Mrs. Nimmo’s third grade class at F.D. Bluford Elementary School, Greensboro, NC. 1965. “The type of machine that I would like built is an information machine. If it were built, I would put in a dime and get information on all subjects.”
Case, D.O. (2002). Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior. San Diego: Academic Press. Retrieved May 22, 2013 from https://blackboard.cua.edu. Claude Shannon. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 1, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Shannon Differential Analyzer. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 1, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_analyzer Norman, J. The Rapid Arithmetic Machine Project. In Jeremy Norman’s From Cave Paintings to the Internet. Retrieved June 1, 2013, from http://www.historyofinformation.com/expanded.php?id=733 Proximity Fuze. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 1, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_fuze Vannevar Bush. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 24, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vannevar-Bush Zachary, G. P. (1997). The Godfather. WIRED, November, 1997. Retrieved May 24, 2013, from http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.11/es_bush_pr.html Reference list