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As We May Think

by Vannevar Bush


This article was originally published in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. It is reproduced here with their permission.

HTML version by Denys Duchier, University of Ottawa, April 1994. Updated August 1995, Simon Fraser University. - please email comments and corrections to - an ASCII version is also available - both have been donated to Project Gutenberg.

Note: In the original article, sections are numbered with no headings. I have added the menu below, as well as navigational links at the top and bottom of each section. Also I have inserted a few hyperlinks in the text itself. - Denys Duchier

Carnegie Institution of Washington:
Vannevar Bush was president of this institution from 1939-1955.
Bush Symposium, Oct 12-13, 1995, MIT:
A celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 vision, an examination of what has been accomplished, and what remains to be done.

As Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. Vannevar Bush has coördinated the activities of some six thousand leading American scientists in the application of science to warfare. In this significant article he holds up an incentive for scientists when the fighting has ceased. He urges that men of science should then turn to the massive task of making more accessible our bewildering store of knowledge. For many years inventions have extended man's physical powers rather than the powers of his mind. Trip hammers that multiply the fists, microscopes that sharpen the eye, and engines of destruction and detection are new results, but the end results, of modern science. Now, says Dr. Bush, instruments are at hand which, if properly developed, will give man access to and command over the inherited knowledge of the ages. The perfection of these pacific instruments should be the first objective of our scientists as they emerge from their war work. Like Emerson's famous address of 1837 on ``The American Scholar,'' this paper by Dr. Bush calls for a new relationship between thinking man and the sum of our knowledge.
- The Editor

Introduction Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Section 7 Section 8