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About the Author

About the Author

The author has served in many and varied formal capacities: scientific researcher, college professor of physics and astronomy, computer programmer, writer, advisor, parliamentarian, committee chair and secretary, constitution/bylaws reviser, religious leader and behind the scenes community leader.

Paul Aikin Smith was born in Columbia, South America, to a Presbyterian couple serving as evangelical missionaries. He later married in Auke Bay, Alaska, the daughter of a Presbyterian couple serving on the national mission field. The author's paternal grandfather was a Presbyterian minister who served on the American western frontier.

Smith attended junior high and high school in Geneseo, Illinois. He received his A.B. in 1956, with a double major in Philosophy and Physics from Park College, in Parkville, Missouri, and later received his A.M. in Physics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1959. In 1964, Smith earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

While at Washington University (1956-1959), Smith did informal formal research on heavy radioactive fallout that was associated with the formation of the St. Louis Committee for Nuclear Information. While in the Boston, Massachusetts, area (1959-1964) Smith was a member of First Church, Congregational of Cambridge, and served on its Social Responsibility Committee. He was also active in the civil rights lunch-counter-boycott movement and anti-war demonstrations, serving as a march-captain on a protest walk from Boston to Groton, Connecticut.

Smith served as assistant professor, associate professor, professor, and Chairman of the Coe College Physics Department during the years 1964-1999. He served terms as Chairman of the standing committees on Computer, Library, Teacher Education, and Student Petitions; Chairman of the KCOE-FM Broadcast Board of Directors. He was also amember of the 1969 Coe Summer Study Committee which initiated radical reforms in the college's distributive requirements.

Smith served as the Iowa Representative on the National Council of the American Association of Physics Teachers (1974-1985), and toured physics departments in Russia and China with high school physics teachers and other teaching physics professors in 1983.

Smith served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of a Christian Education Committee and as leader of adult study groups in local churches.

Smith served as Chairman of the Line County Chapter of the Iowa Democratic Conference and as a member of the State Executive Committee during its active years 1969-1972.

Beginning in 1972, Smith attended numerous county, district, and state conventions of the Democratic Party of Iowa. He served on Platform Committees, on Rules Committees (usually as Secretary), as Convention Chief Teller, Secretary and Parliamentarian. He also was Secretary of State Party Reform Committees, Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee, Secretary of Constitution/Bylaws Revision Committees and of numerous convention Rules Committees, and also served on state-level committees developing new procedures for prioritizing planks in the Party Platform. Smith served on the 1976 National Democratic Platform Committee and as a panelist on Platform Procedures at the 1978 National Democratic Mid-Term Convention. He also served as parliamentarian to the chairs of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee 1968 - 2002, with only a few exceptions.

Smith served as Clerk of Session of Central Park Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1988-1994, as Vice-Moderator of Presbytery, Moderator of Presbytery, and Moderator of Council of East Iowa Presbytery during 1995-1998, and as Moderator of the Administrative Unit and as a member of the new General Council after a major re-organization of East Iowa Presbytery in 2002.

The wide ranging experiences encountered in the authors' lifetime have greatly influenced the style and the content of the essays in the Essays System. Through reading other authors' writings, meeting with authors and other notable leaders, and through professional training, work, and volunteer involvements, Paul A. Smith has been moved to write about 7,000 essays while serving as a full-time Professor of Physics at Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1973 to 1999 and in retirement after May of 1999, having taught for 35 years at Coe College.

For a more detailed description of the authors' development of the ESSAYS System, please see his essay entitled:


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