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5 Things About Me: Engineer Kenneth Warn

Environmental engineer Ken Warn recently traveled with friends to Vietnam and Thailand. (photo: Kenneth Warn)

Kenneth Warn
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Dept. of Energy
Washington, D.C.

Background: I currently work as a project manager at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I work with scientists and engineers to produce environmental assessments and impact statements for proposed natural gas infrastructure projects.

Question 1.  Why did you become an engineer?
Answer: Initially, to design more environmentally-sustainable products and processes.  I have since developed a passion for studies evaluating the full life-cycle impacts of products, processes and policy options, accounting for all externalities, and eventually hope to become a certified practitioner in Life Cycle Assessment.

Question 2.  Share a comment or opinion you have on a topical science-related issue.
Answer: With all seriousness (OK, maybe just a little tongue-in-cheek), I'm curious to know if the "grey goo" hypothesis raised by Bill Joy receives any serious debate within nanotech circles these days.  A few years back I researched a paper dealing with the potential of nanotechnology to serve society contrasted by its potential pitfalls.  That dystopian vision involving creepy self-replicating nanobots that Joy describes in his essay "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" still haunts me.  The prospects of catastrophic manmade climate change and irreversible loss of biodiversity keeps me up at night too, but grey goo? 

Question 3. Tell us about a hobby or passion outside of work.
Answer: As much as I have the available time, I love to backpack, canoe, kayak, and cross-country ski.  I've also taken 10 years of formal piano lessons, but have been shamefully neglectful with practice for the past few years.

Question 4. Share a lighthearted story (can be recent or from the past, work related or not) about yourself.
Answer:  Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam and Thailand with friends having families in both countries.  One night, I heard a live concert by some well-known Vietnamese pop and folk performers.  My friends thought it hilarious that the only lyrics I could understand over the course of the evening (other than an impressively well-enunciated rendition of "Unchained Melody") was the phrase "Soviet Union".

Question 5. What's playing on your iPod/music player?
Answer: I will surely attain 'AAAS Nirvana' over the course of the year after listening to a wide selection of .mp3 audio recordings from this year's AAAS Annual Meeting.

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Environmental engineer Ken Warn recently traveled with friends to Vietnam and Thailand. (photo: Kenneth Warn)
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