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News Release 11-064

The National Science Board Announces Recipient of the 2011 Vannevar Bush Award

Dr. Charles Vest will receive award for distinguished public service leadership in science and technology

Photo of Charles Vest, president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Charles Vest, president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

March 30, 2011

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Charles Vest will receive the National Science Board's (NSB) 2011 Vannevar Bush Award for his distinguished public service leadership in science and technology, the NSB recently announced.

Each year, the NSB presents the Vannevar Bush Award to an individual who, through public service activities in science and technology, has made an outstanding "contribution toward the welfare of mankind and the nation." This year, the NSB members agreed Vest is uniquely deserving of the Vannevar Bush Award for his outstanding contributions to both his scientific field and to the scientific community at large.

Vest currently serves as president of the National Academy of Engineering, having been elected to a 6-year term in 2007. He is also president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was elected to that position in 1990 and served until 2004.

"Charles Vest has been a dynamic force in science policy for a number of years, and we're very pleased to honor him with the Vannevar Bush award," said NSB Chairman Ray Bowen. "He joins a long list of distinguished citizens to be honored by this award."

Vest was a director of DuPont for 14 years and of IBM for 13 years, vice chairman of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness for eight years and served on various federal committees and commissions, including the Presidents Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology during the Clinton and Bush administrations, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, among others.

He authored a book on holographic interferometry and two books on higher education. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from 14 universities and was awarded the 2006 National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush.

He currently serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and foundations devoted to education, science and technology.

Vest received his undergraduate education at West Virginia University, earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1963. He then earned a master's of software engineering and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1964 and 1967 respectively. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1968 and became an associate professor in 1972 and a full professor in 1977. He also served as associate dean of Engineering there from 1981 to 1986 and as dean of Engineering from 1986 to 1989, when he became provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Vest will receive the Vannevar Bush medal at a black-tie dinner and ceremony on May 10 at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, along with recipients of the NSB's Public Service Award for an individual and the recipient the NSB's public service award for a group, which will be announced within the next week. The National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Awardee Casey Dunn of Brown University will be honored that evening with his award, as well.

The NSB is the 25-member policymaking body for the National Science Foundation and advisory body to the president and Congress on science and engineering issues.

Drawn from universities and industry, and representing a variety of science and engineering disciplines and geographic areas, NSB members are selected for their eminence in research, education or public service and records of distinguished service. The NSB has 24 members that serve six-year terms. The 25th member is the NSF director, an ex officio member of the NSB.


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

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