Francisco and the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., and a Life Member of the Sierra Club.
Ken’s many awards over the years included the Arthur S. Flemming Award (1956); AIChE Professional Progress Award (1958), Robert E. Wilson Award (1969), and Founders Award (1983); the American Nuclear Society’s Walter H. Zinn Award (1983) and Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman Award (1993); the Atomic Industrial Forum Oliver Townsend Award (1981); and the Secretary of Energy’s Gold Medal (1983). Ken was also a participant in many National Research Council studies and a member of many advisory boards during several federal administrations.
An avid and excellent skier and expert rock climber, Ken was one of a group of three climbers to make the first ascent of the Royal Arches route at Yosemite’s North Dome (1936). Later in his life, he went on two high treks in the Himalayas.
Ken’s wife, the former Margaret Bean, an accomplished pianist and composer, died in 1998 after 57 years of marriage. The couple had three children and five grandchildren.
Ken Davis was surely one of the “fathers” of the nuclear age and an influential leader, technologist, and statesman. Today, nuclear energy generates about one-fifth of the nation’s electricity, and considering the effects and consequences of global warming, we are likely to become increasingly dependent on safe, reliable nuclear power. In large measure, we will have Ken Davis to thank for it!
Ken is survived by his second wife, Ann Nilsson Davis of San Rafael; a brother, Keith Davis of Grand Lake, Colorado; two daughters, Kerry Davis of Kentfield and Gail Greene of Novato; a son, Warren Davis of Lafayette; and five grandchildren.
Some material was taken from an obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 15, 2006, by John Wildermuth; an interview with Mr. Davis by Professor William Van Vorst, UCLA (2005); and Mr. Davis’ biography provided to the National Academy of Engineering.