NSF PR 02-30 (NSB 02-76) - April 24, 2002
Erich Bloch Honored with Vannevar Bush Award for
Long-Running Contributions to S&T
The National Science Board (NSB) has named Erich Bloch
for its highest award for scientific achievement and
Bloch is a Principal of The Washington Advisory Group,
a distinguished fellow at the Council on Competitiveness,
a former National Science Foundation (NSF) director,
and an outspoken supporter of fundamental research
in leading innovation. He will receive the 2002 Vannevar
Bush Award on May 7 in Washington, D.C. in tribute
to his long-standing reputation in research and innovation,
and his senior statesman status in science and engineering.
Bloch, a standout electrical engineer at IBM early
in his career, was a key figure responsible for IBM's
STRETCH Computer Systems Engineering project and in
the groundbreaking developments of the IBM 360. Charged
with the technology for the IBM Systems 360, Bloch's
accomplishments on the system revolutionized the computer
industry and led to Bloch's 1985 National Medal of
"Erich Bloch is a visionary innovator of enormous stature
- in both high technology for the private sector -
and in the organization and objectives of science
and engineering research, and science and mathematics
education programs funded by the Federal government.
He has been an exceptionally effective communicator
of the benefits of public funding for science and
technology, and a leader in establishing widely emulated
mechanisms for productive partnerships in research
and education across public, academic and private
sectors," Eamon Kelly, NSB chair, said.
In his six-year term (1984-1990) as NSF director -
NSF's only director from industry - Bloch built national
support for advances in high-performance computing
and networking. Bloch's bold step in transitioning
the NSFNET to a commercialized Internet has had immense
economic and societal impact from the 1990s to today.
He also established NSF's Computer and Information
Science and Engineering Directorate.
Bloch's creation of NSF engineering research centers
and science and technology centers reflected his belief
in knowledge transfer - to bring together university
scientists with appropriate industry researchers to
extend the benefits of fundamental research to industry,
and to provide added educational benefits.
In education, Bloch also oversaw NSF's support of system
wide reform for K-12 math and science education.
During his tenure, the budget for education and human
resources more than tripled, and NSF's overall budget
increased from $1.3 to 2.0 billion.
As a distinguished fellow with the Council on Competitiveness,
a private organization, Bloch continues to promote
policies that allow the effective use of innovation
in the development of the U.S. economy. The council
brings together a cross-section of American business,
labor and universities to advance U.S. economic competitiveness.
Bloch is also a member of the President's Council
of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
The National Science Board established the Vannevar
Bush Award in 1980 to commemorate NSF's 30th
anniversary. The award honors an individual with
long-standing scientific achievement and "statesman"
status in the community who, through public service
activities in science and technology, makes outstanding
contributions to the nation and humankind. Bloch
will be the Bush award's 24th recipient.