Creating miracles

Published 10:29 am Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just signing his name is a challenge for Ralph H. Bjork.

The physics professor who spent more than 30 years teaching meets that challenge.

“At this time the only movement Ralph has is the rotation of his head,” explained his wife, Kathy. “He can type with a special adaption that reaches his chin. This enables him to move and adjust his electric wheelchair as well as becomes a computer ‘mouse’ when he adjusts his ‘mouse head’ to the computer,” she said.

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Two decades ago, progressive multiple sclerosis made Bjork its victim. He has no use of his body below the neck and is confined to a motorized wheelchair.

Still, he has written two books.

Lifelong talent

Bjork is the son of the late Herb and Arlene Bjork, Austin, and a 1961 graduate of Austin High School.

Bjork graduated from St. Olaf College, Northfield in 1965; earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Minnesota in 1967; and went to work as a microwave engineer.

Two years later, he went to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he earned a doctorate in physics.

Bjork and his wife, a native of Holland, Mich., met after she graduated from Cornell University with a degree in nursing and began her career in Massachusetts, where Bjork was studying for his doctorate.

St. Olaf College invited Bjork to return and direct the academic computer center at Northfield. He accepted and his wife taught nursing classes part-time. The couple then moved to Decorah, Iowa, where he started and then directed the administrative computer center at Luther College. Bjork accepted an offer to teach in the University of Wisconsin system. The couple moved to Platteville, Wis., where he taught for 20 years before the cruel fate of progressive multiple sclerosis stole life from him, and it became too debilitating to continue as a professor.

He retired and dealt with his handicap.

His wife and sons see the daily miracles. Now, the world at large will once again see more of the man’s courage.

Four years ago, Bjork authored his first book: “God’s Name Is ‘Jesus,’” and now he has written “Creation.”

One word at a time

In his latest book, Bjork describes natural sciences in their most basic structure.

He does that with the only movement progressive multiple sclerosis allows: rotation of his neck and movement of his chin.

The intention of the book, the author explained in the foreword, is not to prove science over creation, but rather “that science exposes the fact that our creator created a marvelous universe and in it he exposes what an awesome God he is.”

“Light, atomic structure, the four fundamental forces, (gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force, and weak force), DNA, cell structure, and human anatomy are described in ways that are understandable to the common man,” Bjork wrote.

The author’s fan club begins with his wife and their four sons: Erik, David, Jacob and Jonathan. The couple also have five grandchildren.

The inspiration for his first two books came not from family, travel or life experiences, but from within.

A year ago, he contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized.

“Following pneumonia and complications,” he said in a statement about the source of his books, “I was thinking about my scientific background and realized that all the things I had studied in science, like gravitation, magnetism, light, DNA and many other things, could not have happened by random chance, but that they needed a creator,” he said.

With his wife, Kathy, at his side, the author himself created.

One movement, one letter, one word, one thought, one prayer at a time.

For more information, go to www.ralphbjork. com or www.advantage