About David

David Blair:

About David


Brief Biography

A retired physicist, I still keep my mind active.  I live in Sydney, Australia, but spent eight years working in Canada.  I was formerly a keen long-distance runner and enjoyed social tennis.  My interests include philosophy and family history.

David Blair was born in Sydney in 1939.  He was educated at Fort Street Boys’ High School and The University of Sydney.  He gained a PhD from that university for work in theoretical solid state physics.  The period 1965–74 was spent in Canada, where David was a postdoctoral fellow at two universities.  For 1974–90, David was on the academic staff of the University of Technology, Sydney, where he became a senior lecturer in physics.  He was a senior research scientist at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, 1990–2002, where he was a leading member of a team that developed a high-resolution sonar.  In retirement, for some years until 2011, David was an honorary associate in the Ocean Technology Group, University of Sydney, where he worked 1 to 2 days a week on research topics including sonar.

I still keep busy with “thinking” work, particularly climate change and the dire need for action on it. And I write articles for Australian Humanist.

On a more personal note

My years from age six through to early adulthood were spent in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville.  But we actually had closer social links with Dulwich Hill, where our school, church and scout group were located.

As a child I became fascinated with a number of activities in succession.  At age seven, maps were the focus of attention, and large amounts of time were spent studying the atlas.  The Arctic and Antarctic were particularly intriguing.  At age nine, genealogy took centre stage after, during a trip to the museum, the pedigree of a famous racehorse, Carbine, captured my eye.  After quizzing my parents so that I could incorporate as many direct ancestors as possible into my own pedigree chart, attention turned to the royal family of England—and other countries of Europe—for which vastly more information was available.  Over a couple of years a massive all-in-one family tree of the royals was drawn up.  Also at age nine, when I found out that other bodies beside the Earth revolve around the Sun, astronomy evoked great interest, and I envisaged a career in that subject.

At the beginning of high school I joined the chess club, and playing chess became my normal lunch-time activity for the next four years.  It was also in high school that I developed a great love for maths, inspired by my two maths teachers, first Joe Stanley and then Jim Coroneos.

I joined the Boy Scouts movement, and it was an important part of my life as I went from Cubs right through to Rovers.  I gained the Queen’s Scout Badge.  After having tennis lessons at age 12, I enjoyed playing regularly to age 25 and in spurts in the succeeding decades.

I was attracted to middle-distance and long-distance running at age 14.  Continuing to improve at this gave me quite a thrill.  Running gave a feeling of freedom and a sense that “the sky is the limit.”  The high point came in 1961 at age 21, when I covered 100 miles in 17h 33 m 51 s at an event run by the Sydney University Athletics Club—which was at that time the fastest 100 miles covered on foot in Australia.  You may ask: This extended trail went from where to where?   Actually it consisted of 400 laps of the university oval!

In adult life, the following events and themes have been at the forefront.  Sailing to Canada with my wife in 1965, I gained experience there in postdoctoral research for eight years.  I enjoyed Canada.  The people tend to be quiet and reserved, but friendly.  The snow, the cold—and the air-conditioning—were great novelties, at least for the first few years.  In 1974 I returned to Australia—Sydney—where I settled into a permanent position.

In my adult life—and before—I have greatly enjoyed intellectual stimulus.  And problem-solving—often, but not always, involving maths.  Like many a person, I have spent much time seeking answers to the “deepest” questions that humans ask; in the process, not surprisingly, I have pondered, read, and attended lectures.

My wife and I were married in 1963 and we have two sons.  I enjoy time spent with my family.  With my wife I have enjoyed my share of travel, both in Australia and overseas.  For David’s other interests and life experiences, begin by:

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