Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Remembering George H. W. Bush

Today is the national day of mourning for George Herbert Walker Bush, one of the best presidents for science and computing. He created PCAST, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Bush signed the High Performance Computing Act (introduced by Al Gore), that powered computing research and the Internet through the massive growth of the 90's. His administration started the Human Genome Project and the US Global Change Research Program. He appointed the first and so far only African-American NSF Director.

Bush also started the the short-lived Presidential Faculty Fellows program. As a member of the first class of fellows I got invited to a ceremony in the Rose Garden in June of 1992. I didn't actually get to shake hands with President Bush; in that busy election year we had a joint ceremony with some high school award winners and the National Medal of Technology recipients that included Bill Gates and Joseph Woodland, who invented the bar code scanner used at supermarkets. George Bush famously may or may not have been amazed by this technology a few months earlier at a grocers convention and had no issues joking about it when introducing Woodland.

Sipping lemonade on the White House lawn is not an experience one soon forgets. And I guess I haven't twenty-six years later. Thanks President Bush and God speed.

1 comment:

  1. John Slaughter was the first African American NSF Director (Carter Appointed). Walter Massey was the second African American NSF Director appointed by Bush 41.