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About Professor David Block:

David Block is one of South Africa’s greatest jewels, an ambassador for astronomy” pens the former President of the American Astronomical Society, Debra Elmegreen.

Professor Block with Shrouds of the Night

About Professor Block’s book launched at Harvard University:
'SHOUDS OF THE NIGHT' is a history, a celebration, and a score of more of quite luminous speculations. It’s a look far out in space, and back in time, and deep inside ourselves and our capacity for inquiry and wonder. Our greatest scientific minds share its pages with our most suggestive literary voices. Such is its subject and its co-authors’ own imaginative powers, that it rises not infrequently to the level of poetry itself.” (Harvard COOP - BOSTON).

Professor David Block was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of London at age of 19.
His first research paper, on relativistic astrophysics, was published in London, by the Royal Astronomical Society, at age 20. 

Professor Block has been a visiting research scientist at the Australian National University, the European Southern Observatory in Germany, Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology and the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, amongst others.

Professor Block’s latest accolade is the prestigious National Science & Technology Forum-BHP Billiton Award for “his outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology and innovation through communication for outreach and creating awareness over the last five years.”

David Block was the Principal Investigator of an international team of astronomers who established the existence of a population of cold dust in galaxies, many grains at a temperature of only 20 degrees above absolute zero.  The legendary J. Mayo Greenberg at the University of Leiden described David Block as “the organizer and prime mover of what is turning out to be one of the most active fields in galactic astrophysics.” 

Professor Block is one of the only scientists on our planet whose research work has twice been featured on the cover of the world’s most prestigious scientific journal “NATURE”.  (It was in  the journal “Nature” that Watson and Crick published their unlocking of the DNA code).

David Block serves as a Professor in the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.  In 2006, Professor Block received the University of the Witwatersrand's highest research accolade: the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award.  

Two Nobel laureates wrote the Preface to Professor Block’s book “Our Universe: Accident or Design?”  His book “Starwatch” has been translated into Swedish and German. His latest book, “Shrouds of the Night”, published in New York, is  co-authored by Professor Ken Freeman  and is endorsed on the cover by Lord Martin Rees.

 Lord Rees, former President of the Royal Society of England and the current Astronomer Royal of England, personally attended the launch of Professor Block’s book in London.
Professor Block accompanied the world's most famous living scientist, Stephen Hawking, to meet former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.

“David Block is one of South Africa’s greatest jewels, an ambassador for astronomy” pens the former President of the American Astronomical Society, Debra Elmegreen.

This is how world-renowned US astronomer John Kormendy describes the career of Professor Block:
 “David Block is to South Africa what Carl Sagan was to American astronomy – his pioneering discoveries are reshaping astronomical paradigms, and his imprint on human culture is a legacy to all South Africans as you build your future in the technological 21st century.”

They have three sons: Aaron (21) and twin boys (15) named Nkwenkwezi (“star”) and Khethile (“the chosen one”) by Nelson Mandela.