RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — An Army senior research scientist retired June 29 after decades of service.
Dr. Bruce J. West, senior scientist in mathematics at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory’s Army Research Office retired after more than 22 years of federal service.
Across the Army, there are less than 30 senior research scientist positions, known as STs, who serve in general-officer level positions, advising leadership on science matters.
Officials at West’s ceremony lauded his research that “will have a lasting impact on society in general and the Army in particular.”
West has more than 50 years of experience in developing mathematical models to bridge the gaps separating the understanding and control of the complex phenomena within the life, physical and social sciences.
The Army honored West for his service at an ARO ceremony at Research Triangle Park, where DEVCOM ARL Director Dr. Patrick Baker presided.
During his federal career, West developed and presented the mathematical basis for a new theory of medicine that led to revolutionary methods for mechanical ventilation, evaluating the treatment of depression and cardiopulmonary bypass pumps for critically ill and severely injured patients.
West also formulated a new mathematical strategy to facilitate the overcoming of research barriers to critical Army problems imposed by complexity.
“The science of complexity is extremely important for us moving forward as an Army as we think about the future operating environment,” Baker said. “Complexity is increasing, and the impact of Bruce and his research will be enduring.”
With that effort, Bruce changed the national university curriculum to include a new kind of mathematics, fractional calculus, necessary for solving critical Army research problems in disciplines ranging from anatomy to zoology.
“Bruce’s professionalism, candor, his quick wit and his desire to always add a different perspective to discussions about the future Army made ARL a better learning organization and truly set him apart as an advisor and a leader,” Baker said.
West's work has quantified the information transfer between complex networks, as in the control of physiological systems by the brain, the adaption of an individual to social groups, and the control of crowds by zealots.
He has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, 35 book chapters and 21 books, garnering more than 23,000 citations with more than 600 for the year on the date of his retirement.
West plans to continue his research after retirement exploring threads of research including the inability of nonlinear equations to provide the kinds of forecasts made in efforts at predicting human impact global climate change.
While at ARO, West also served as an adjunct professor at Duke University for almost 20 years. Before joining ARO, West served as a professor of physics at the University of North Texas, director of the Division of Applied Nonlinear Problem at the La Jolla Institute and research professor at the Institute of Nonlinear Dynamics.
He earned a doctorate of philosophy degree in physics from the University of Rochester and a bachelor of arts and a master’s degree, both in physics from State University of New York at Buffalo.
The recorded ceremony can be viewed on the lab’s YouTube channel.
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As the Army’s national research laboratory, ARL is operationalizing science to achieve transformational overmatch. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more successful at winning the nation’s wars and come home safely. DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command.