01 Sep Senior in Action – Dr. Mark Kingston Levin
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
(Material provided by Dr. Kingston Levin via his website, https://markkingstonlevin.com and phone interview with Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen)
Senior in Action – Dr. Mark Kingston Levin
Dr. Levin was born in 1941 and grew up in Vermont with many winters in Florida as a child. His father, a surgeon wounded during World War II while operating on frontline soldiers, and his mother, a speech therapist, poet and writer, had tremendous influence on the development of Mark and his older brother Mike. As a teenager, Mark wrote poetry (published), short stories, served as a lifeguard and played football. His brother Mike became a General in the Army National Guard.
In 1964, Levin received a BS in chemistry from the University of Vermont. He was employed by Boeing on project Apollo and later worked on the Mars Project. In 1968, he decided to return to school to study under Nobel Laureate Paul Dirac in quantum mechanics at the University of Miami, Coral Gables; obtaining his Ph.D. in 2.5 years. Dr. Dirac and Mark Levin often went sailing together in Key Biscayne Bay, Florida.
Levin purchased a yacht to live on during his Ph.D. studies. He explored the Bahamian Blue holes and discovered deep caverns with stalagmites and stalactites. Jacque Cousteau was impressed and made it the subject of a documentary. During the yacht’s maiden voyage, one passenger went below and was poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO). This tragedy led Dr. Levin to seek a method to detect carbon monoxide leaks. Years later in 1989, Dr. Levin invented the biomimetic carbon monoxide sensor. His company developed, manufactured and sold over 31 million CO sensors in the USA.
Dr. Levin’s first business focused on airplane oceanography, remote sensing and flying into hurricanes. He invented several sensor products, which were used for research and anti-submarine warfare. He devised an instrument to detect submarines under the ice, and a sensor that helped NASA determine where water might exist on Mars. Over the years, the two companies he founded were awarded over 32 U.S. patents. Levin served on a team of science advisors to U.S. President Gerald Ford. He went to Japan and served as Senior Technical Advisor for the largest Japanese engineering and construction company. He married his third wife, Kyoko and mastered the Japanese language. After returning from Japan, Dr. Levin founded a company to provide expert witness and forensic consulting.
Dr. Levin retired in 2014 to write science fiction – his true calling. In his 30th Century Science Fiction Trilogy, the author proposes, “What if the superior intellectual and other abilities of AIs (Artificial Intelligences) could be harnessed to save humanity and one AI programmed to be a bridge to first contact with an alien species? I love AIs, and I look at their development as very positive. For generations, humans have had a better future than their ancestors. I think this will continue. We’ll have challenges in the future. But I believe AIs, whose intelligence and capacities will be greater than our own, will emerge as essential contributors to our brighter tomorrows.” The trilogy consists of 30th Century: Escape (c 2017), 30th Century: Revived (c 2018), and 30th Century: Contact (c 2019).
These days, Dr. Levin is hoping that modern science might save his life. After a ten-year battle, Levin beat two incurable and untreatable lymphocytic (LGL) leukemias with the help of Dr. Catriona Jamieson at UC San Diego, and a new drug called Imbruvica. Neither chemotherapy nor other available drugs worked until Imbruvica was approved in December 2014. Levin underwent treatment with Imbruvica and by April 2017, Dr. Jamieson could not find any cancer in his body. In 2012, Dr. Levin contracted Wolhdenstrom’s Syndrome, a b-cell lymphoma, and was in remission for two years. Dr. Levin is now ready to fight the lymphoma with NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), once efficacy trials have been completed with humans. You can find Dr. Levin’s blogs on his website, https://markkingstonlevin.com His books are available for purchase on Amazon.