Advisory Board Memorial

Ken Wear, M.S.

The article Musing on Beginning and End said

But I wonder if in fact civilization is a self-limiting process. With the invention and pursuit of science, knowledge must in time permit the creation of super-weapons capable of destroying their civilization or returning it to a primitive state where its knowledge is lost or useless. Is it possible — rather, isn’t it probable — that high intelligence and advanced science have come into being thousands and thousands of times in our galaxy, each time to be destroyed through the unleashing of its own weaponry, or, through the pressure of its own numbers, poisoned its atmosphere or polluted its environment to the extent that life was cancelled. It seems likely that it is the nature of civilization that it may rise, flourish for a time, and then twinkle out as a result of its own accomplishments…
As an armchair exercise you can reflect on the hundreds of millions of years for intelligence to arise on Earth. And then, with agriculture and the rise of leisure and then science, comes the perennial struggle for power — for the dominion of one person over others — which seems an unavoidable consequence of intelligence. There results weapons of war and destruction and their proliferation and the possibility that one heedless maniac can destroy the entirety of civilization. The window of time, for the rise of science that can either destroy this world or undertake communication with other worlds, is minute — vanishingly small — compared to the time required for the rise of intelligence from the dust of creation. That window of time will likely forever bar communication and cooperation between worlds.

Ken Wear, M.S. author of the above, graduated with highest honor in Physics from Georgia Tech in 1955 and later earned a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering at Ohio State University. He worked in research for years, specializing in ultra-high vacuum, including a stint with NASA working with a one-of-a-kind facility to prepare for measurement of pressure at satellite orbital altitudes (pressure being, inside the Van Allen belts, the single most important parameter in space). That wound down after the Kennedy assassination and he eventually returned to Atlanta to work at Georgia Tech as consultant in ultra-high vacuum, which is an experimental environment for a great range of research at Georgia Tech. He later started a short-lived manufacturing business in his field.
Ken’s technical papers include Ultrahigh Vacuum Twist Compression Apparatus, Condensable gases in a McLeod gauge, and Electrical characteristics of sputter-ion pumps. He has authored many provocative essays including Was the Big Bang the Ultimate Beginning?, Rational Theism: Religion and science can be compatible, Is Mankind Undoing the Benefits of Evolution?, Energy For Tomorrow: Sources and Issues, Automatic Driving, Decimal vs Base-16 Arithmetic, Phonetic Alphabet With Implementations, Suggested English Language Reforms, and the thought-provoking Social Contract: You and Me and Society.
He likes to square and ballroom dance, and enjoys entertaining at seniors facilities. Go to his web site where he searches for the rights and wrongs of life as he discusses science, philosophy and religion.