Ernesto Sábato was born in Rojas, Argentina on June 24, 1911. He earned a doctorate in physics from Universidad Nacional de La Plata and worked in Paris on atomic radiation at the Joliot-Curie Laboratory. He began writing in 1941 and was a prolific essayist on subjects such as science, national culture and human rights. He wrote several novels including The Tunnel (1948), On Heroes and Tombs (1961) and The Angel of Darkness (1974). He received numerous awards including the French Legion of Honour, the Medici Prize of Italy and Spain's Cervantes Prize. He was also a painter and his works were once displayed at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. He led an investigation into crimes committed under the military dictatorship of Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The commission's reports served as the basis for prosecuting leading figures of the dictatorship after the return to democracy. He died of complications from bronchitis on April 30, 2011 at the age of 99.