The real ‘most interesting’ man is coming to Conrad

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

If I were to ask you who Jonathan Goldsmith was I’m almost willing to bet you wouldn’t have a clue.

Goldsmith, at 70 plus, is touted as “The Most interesting  Man”, is a Spanish actor who does a beer commercial for Dos Equis Beer and has made the commercial campaign phrase, “Stay thirsty my friend” famous.

He is not coming to Conrad.

However, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Dean Ortner is, and he doesn’t make TV commercials, but in real life is “most interesting.”

Pastor Pete Wetendorf tells the I-O that Ortner will be in Conrad from Sept. 9 to 12 at the Conrad Mission Church, 205 2nd Ave. NW.

He will be performing a ‘most interesting’ Wonders of Science program (WOS) on the church stage.

On Sept. 9, he will perform at 10:45 a.m. and then put on a different performance at 6:30 p.m. on the next four nights.

The public is invited to see his show, at no charge each night as well as the Sunday morning performance.

Pastor Wetendorf says the “The whole stage in the church will be set up like a science lab.”

Ortner is the oldest of eight brothers. His parents were both professors in the fields of rocket science, metallurgical engineering and mathematics. They were believers in year-long schooling.

At the tender age of nine, he designed and built an analog computer to help him with his math homework.

When he was just 15, he entered Moorhead State University in Minnesota taking classes in aeronautical/electrical engineering and French.

While other students were struggling with designs at the drafting boards, Ortner designed and built a full-sized operating airplane and soloed for a pilot’s license in just 5-1/2 hours.

He switched his major, transferring to pre-med courses in medicine and bio-nucleonics. He completed the biology major and eventually earned a doctorate and a faculty position as a research scientist at North Dakota State University (NDSU).

His thirst to broaden his educational experiences took him on two years of study at the Sorbonne in Paris where he studied art and opera.

He has a special love of languages, so besides studying French, he has studied and speaks Spanish, Hungarian, German, Japanese and the written words of Chinese.

He has earned a second doctorate in the field of Humanities.

While at NDSU he taught doctors from the Mayo Clinic and other post-doctoral students in advanced surgical techniques, medical entomology/toxicology and instrumental analysis.

He has lectured at Johns-Hopkins Medical School, Harvard, Princeton, Purdue, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech universities.

Ortner has been behind the controls of high performance fighter jets, piloted nuclear submarines and received close-up inspections of nuclear missiles and launching pads from Florida to Alaska.

He has a commission as a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army Airborne and added the Red Beret to his many accomplishments and he regularly leaves airplanes to go sky diving.

By now you may recognize Ortner, the director of the WOS,  as the Million Volt Man.

He got that name for his million volt ride in the finale of WOS presentations.

He stands on a metal drum and sends a million volts of electricity through his body. He holds a wooden board in one hand that catches fire and sparks of blue-white electricity come off the fingers of his other hand.

He explains that the high voltage and amps are at a safe frequency and the resulting power lights the wood. If you have never seen this before, it is an amazing demonstration.

Some readers may recall that Ortner performed at the church a few years ago. Still others may recall this performance which was viewed by over 100 million viewers when the TV show Ripley’s Believe It or Not was reprised.

His largest audience was a performance in Detroit, that number being over 37,000 and his smallest was for six men at a remote radar site.

Among other places that the WOS has performed is all four military academies, the Pentagon, Camp David for then President, Ronald Regan and his staff and the Olympic Games.

You may want to mark the dates down and come out and see all or one of his performances.

For more information, call Pastor Wetendorf at 278-3553 or visit the website on the Internet at www.wondersofscience.org .