David Black

Dr. David Black is President and CEO of the SETI Institute. He is also President Emeritus of Universities Space Research Association and a Visiting Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute.  He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Minnesota, and has been an Adjunct Professor at University College, London, Stanford University, and Rice University.  He served as Director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Clear Lake, Texas for 13 years, and was Chief Scientist for Space Research at NASA’s Ames Research Center.  He also was the first Chief Scientist for the Space Station Program. 

Dr. Black is an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of star and planetary system formation, and planetary science.  He was the first to discover evidence of extrasolar material that survived the formation of the solar system, providing insight into stellar nucleosynthesis and conditions in the early solar system.  He was a pioneer in numerical modeling of protostellar formation and evolution.  He is regarded as the father of modern efforts to search for other planetary systems.

He has appeared in numerous PBS NOVA features related to star and planetary system formation, and has served as Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on Astronomy and Public Outreach.  Dr. Black has chaired numerous advisory committees for NASA and NSF.  He coached Special Olympics softball, track, basketball, and power lifting for more than a decade, and has served as Chair of the Clear Creek Education Foundation in Clear Lake, Texas.