If you’ve ever pondered the relative merits of Russian composers Rachmaninov and Scriabin, or why Hitler’s atomic bomb never happened, or the mysteries of the ionosphere, Dr Ken Lynn is the man with the answers.
Ken is truly a walking encyclopedia and for 20 years he has generously shared his huge sum of knowledge with U3A noosa as a regular – and popular – fixture in the Friday afternoon lecture series.
“I guess I have built up a bit of a following,” muses Ken, who was recently presented with a certificate of appreciation by U3A noosa President Liz Gleghorn, in recognition of two decades of entertaining and informative talks.
On that occasion, in September, Ken’s subject was the history of the computer. His first U3A talk, he recalls, was the history of ancient Greece and in between his subjects have ranged through history, music, science and travel.
His talks helped the difficult transition from a rewarding career as a research scientist in South Australia to retirement in Noosa.
“It was hard going from ‘hero to zero’,” admits Ken, voicing the difficulties many face when giving up a stellar career. “Presenting these talks helped the transition and helped justify the amount of time I was spending reading and researching the subjects I had always been interested in – history, music, science – but hadn’t had the time to do so before. I found it a pleasure to talk about these subjects and hopefully enthuse others.”
Ken was educated in Brisbane and received his B.Sc, M.Sc and Ph.D in physics from the University of Queensland. Working for the Department of Defence in Salisbury, SA, until his retirement in 1997, his fields of research covered radio astronomy, radio wave propagation via the ionosphere and ionospheric physics in general. He has subsequently worked for many years as a contractor in support of the Australian over-the-horizon radar system.
But Ken’s interests extend far beyond science. He is an accomplished classical pianist and still, at age 80, a keen surfer and ocean swimmer.
The bad news for his U3A noosa followers is that Ken fears he may be running out of new subjects to talk about.