Ward V. Evans

Ward V. Evans
Born (1880-06-06)June 6, 1880
Rawlinsville, Pennsylvania
Died August 2, 1957(1957-08-02) (aged 77)
Lancaster General Hospital
Nationality American
Alma mater Millersville State Teachers College, Franklin and Marshall College (BA, 1907), Columbia University (PhD, 1916)
Known for Commissioner in Oppenheimer security hearing
Scientific career
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago

Ward V. Evans (c. 1880 - 1957) was a chemist who served as a professor at Northwestern University and Loyola University Chicago. He was known as one of three members of the commission that voted to revoke the security clearance of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Evans was the only member who voted to allow Oppenheimer to retain his security clearance, stating that failure to clear Oppenheimer would be "a black mark on the escutcheon of our country.".[1]:152


Evans was born in Rawlinsville, Pennsylvania, on June 6, 1880, the son of Jacob Evans, a farmer, and Elizabeth (Oldham) Evans.[2] He received a teaching certificate at Millersville State Teachers College, a B.A. at Franklin and Marshall College (1907), and a Ph.D. at Columbia University (1916). In 1916 he joined the faculty of Northwestern University as an instructor in chemistry. During the first world war, Evans spent a year in the army, where he was involved in testing explosives at Catholic University and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Mines.[2] Evans then returned to Northwestern in 1918, where he remained until 1945, becoming department chair in 1942.[2][3] In 1947 he joined the chemistry department at Loyola University Chicago, retiring as chair in 1951.[2]

For more than 20 years, Evans served on the national council of the American Chemical Society, and in 1946 received an Honor Scroll from the American Institute of Chemists.[3] An authority on explosions, Evans served as a consultant as well as expert witness on lawsuits related to explosions.[2]

In 1954 Evans served as one of three panel members at the security clearance hearing of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He was the only member who voted to allow Oppenheimer to retain his security clearance.

Evans died on 2 August 1957, at Lancaster General Hospital. He had suffered a stroke at his summer home in Fishing Creek.[3]:11[4]:B2

Security clearance hearing

Wolverton[1] wrote that

Ward Evans' minority report was concise and sharply worded. He criticized the AEC for investigating Oppenheimer for charges on which he had previously been cleared in 1947. Oppenheimer "did not hinder the development of the H-bomb, and there is absolutely nothing in the testimony to show that he did." Evans acknowledged that Oppenheimer had left-wing and even Communist friends, but "the evidence indicates that he has fewer of them than in 1947, when he was last cleared." Moreover, "he is not as naive as he was then. He has more judgment... it is better now than it was in 1947, and to damn him now and ruin his career and his service, I cannot do it." He concluded that failure to clear Oppenheimer would be "a black mark on the escutcheon of our country."[1]:152


  1. 1 2 3 Wolverton, Mark (2013). A life in twilight the final years of J. Robert Oppenheimer. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781429953283.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 White, J. T. (1963). The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic, and of the Men and Women who are Doing the Work and Moulding the Thought of the Present Time, Volume 46. New York, NY: J.T. White & Co. p. 472. OCLC 6879488. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 Anonymous (3 August 1957). "Dr. Ward Evans, Chemist, is Dead: Loyola of Chicago Professor Who Ruled for Oppenheimer in Security Case was 74". New York Times.
  4. Anonymous (3 August 1957). "Ward Evans, Defender of Oppenheimer". Washington Post.
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