Bush and the Differential Analyzer

There are slides devoted to this topic: Lecture 6a, pp. 17-25.


Find out about Vannevar Bush’s life and scientific achievements by reading the “Biography of Vannevar Bush” on the History of Computers site.

Check out the Computer History Museum’s page on “Bush’s Analog Solution” to learn more about Bush’s construction of the Differential Analyzer, its many practical applications, and the analog and electronic machines that followed it.

Read “The Differential Analyzer,” a concise and well-explained article from The Future of Things siteand learn the mechanics and mathematics behind Bush’s analog machine.


Watch this fancifully imagined movie clip of a differential engine at work, taken from the 1956 film “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.”

Visit MIT’s page on “Vannevar Bush’s Differential Analyzer” to experience a rendered version of the analyzer based on descriptions and photographs of the machine.

For another animated glimpse into the workings of the differential analyzer, watch this “Differential Analyser” video, which follows a differential equation as it goes through the machine.

Journal Articles

Read Vannevar Bush’s recommendations to President Roosevelt in his 1945 article “Science – The Endless Frontier.” The lengthy (but interesting and enjoyable) article discusses future scientific steps to be taken in areas of medicine, public welfare, education of youth, and the military.