Founder of Aspen Winter Physics Conferences dies |

Founder of Aspen Winter Physics Conferences dies

Special to The Aspen Times

The Aspen Center for Physics announces the death of a key participant and honorary general member, Professor Martin Block, on July 22 in Los Angeles. He was 90.

In 1985, Block founded a winter conference at the Aspen Center for Physics on elementary particle physics — with an organized ski race. The original conference has now grown into a series which, in 2017, will bring more than 600 of the best scientists in the world to eight conferences in the subfields of astrophysics, biophysics, condensed matter physics and particle physics.

Block, together with his wife, Beate, and Maggie and Nick DeWolf, originated the idea of public lectures associated with each conference. Each week of the conferences, the lectures attract more than 200 residents and visitors to the Wheeler Opera House.

Block received bachelor’s of science and doctorate degrees from Columbia University and served on the faculty of Duke University until 1962, when he became chair and professor of physics at Northwestern University. In addition, he conducted experimental particle physics research at accelerators such as CERN. He retired from Northwestern as emeritus professor and he and Beate retired to their beloved home in Aspen where he remained active at the Aspen Center for Physics and continued with research and publications. In Aspen, Marty also pursued his second love — fishing.

Block was a fellow of the American Physical Society and past recipient of Guggenheim, NATO and CERN fellowships as well as other honors.

In honor of their 80th birthdays in 2005, friends and family of Martin and Beate established the Block Prize, which is given to a promising young physicist at each of the Aspen Winter Conferences. The family requests memorial contributions to this fund.

In addition to Beate, his wife of 66 years, he is survived by his two children, professor Steven Block of Stanford University and Gail Block, a film marketing expert, and two grandchildren.

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