Scientists are perceived to be individuals who are not so much about casual talk and often in the midst of their presentations loaded with technical language lose their audience.That perception, however, is easily shattered by the sheer precision and eloquence of world renowned astronomer Professor David Block -who captivates his audience throughout a lecture. Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) hosted Professor Block in Palapye on Monday, where he delivered a public lecture titled “The Template of Life; Lessons on Strategic Thinking,” Prof. Block is a leading cosmic dust expert and researcher, and a highly sought after inspirational speaker, who has devoted over 30 years of his career to encouraging audiences around the globe “to always Look Up – and to never, never, never give up!" He speaks from the heart, sharing in-depth lessons from his world of research. Targeting the youthful students who were invited to his lecture from BIUST, junior and senior secondary schools around Mahalapye and Palapye, or the 'future leaders of tomorrow’ as Prof Block calls them, the presentation focused on motivating and encouraging attendants to learn strategic ways of studying what they want to become and which areas they want to venture into. “Shine with brilliance and integrity,” he said. Drawing an analogy from the lunar eclipse, a well-known occurrence when the moon comes between earth and the sun, he said just as the moon blurrs out the sun in the process the inference for strategic thinking is that if one does not visualize the outcome, their future will be eclipsed. Speaking from the heart Prof Block took the one hour allocated for the lecture teaching attendants on how not to have their future eclipsed. “You are not born for your future to be eclipsed,” he said, calling on the youth to say the phrase aloud with him. He emphasised that firstly to succeed one needs to know their strategy and always having their eyes on the ball; calling it the Ronaldo strategy. He pointed out that it is important for any person to have self-confidence and believe in who they are and what they do. Relating this to his life of research in cosmic dust, he revealed that many years ago he was able to secure a blank cheque sponsorship from Anglo American because he was able to win the trust and faith of the company’s CEO with his articulate proposal.
Noting that each person has a purpose in life, and that no matter how small one cannot be insignificant. “A person is a person, no matter how small,” he said. He told the students that strategic thinking can be used to achieve a lot of things in life that many would have thought impossible and that one need not go to the most prestigious institutions in the world to make a world shattering discovery or to ‘crack it’ as he put it. Quoting Marcel Proust, he said the real voyage of discovery rather consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. “People often think we need to go to Harvard to crack it, no you don’t. I stayed in Krugersdorp, I went to Wits University, not right at the global ranks by any measure but look at me now,” said Prof Block. He said although as an astronomer and researcher he leads a busy life which often keeps him away from home for long, he is a family man who leads a normal life. He believes in spending time with his family whenever an opportunity arises, and in normal stuff like romance. Prof Block also fielded questions and comments from inquisitive students in attendance, mostly those visiting from high schools in Palapye and Mahalapye, and gifted them with various pieces of his work which included books and DVDs. In his opening remarks preceeding the public lecture BIUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo, christened Professor Block with a Tswana name -Professor Rapula owing to the rainy day that characterised his visit. Prof Totolo showered Prof Block with praises saying the latter is an exciting and distinguished person whom he was honored to host.