Paul Davies is a British-born theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and best-selling author. He is Regents' Professor and Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, and co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative, at Arizona State University. Previously he held academic appointments at the Universities of Cambridge, London and Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, before moving to Australia in 1990, initially as Professor of Mathematical Physics at The University of Adelaide. Later he helped found the Australian Centre for Astrobiology in Sydney.
Davies’s research interests are focused on the “big questions” of existence, ranging from the origin of the universe to the origin of life, and include the nature of time, the search for life in the universe and foundational questions in quantum mechanics. He helped create the theory of quantum fields in curved spacetime, with which he provided explanations for how black holes can radiate energy, and what caused the ripples in the cosmic afterglow of the big bang. In astrobiology, he was a forerunner of the theory that life on Earth may have come from Mars. He is also actively involved in SETI: the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. For several years he ran a major NCI research program on cancer and physical science, and is currently developing new insights into the deep evolutionary roots of cancer.
In addition to his research, Davies is known as a passionate science communicator, and is in demand world-wide for media appearances and public presentations. He has lectured on scientific topics at institutions as diverse as The World Economic Forum, the United Nations, the Commission of the European Union, Google, Windsor Castle, The Vatican and Westminster Abbey, as well as mainstream academic establishments such as The Royal Society, The Smithsonian Institution, the New York Academy of Sciences, The American Association for the Advancement of Science and hundreds of universities. He has twice debated scientific topics with the Dalai Lama, and contributed to numerous debates about science, religion and culture. His 31 popular and specialist books have been translated into over 20 languages, and are notable for presenting complex ideas in accessible terms. Among his best sellers are The Mind of God, About Time, How to Build a Time Machine, The Fifth Miracle, The Goldilocks Enigma and The Eerie Silence. His latest book, The Demon in the Machine, addresses the profound question of what ultimately explains the amazing properties of living matter. Davies devised and presented a highly successful series of 45 minute BBC Radio 3 science documentaries, and a one-hour television documentary about his work in astrobiology, entitled The Cradle of Life. In Australia his many television projects included two six-part series The Big Questions, filmed in the outback, and More Big Questions.
Paul Davies has won many awards, including the 1995 Templeton Prize for his work on the deeper implications of science, the 2001 Kelvin Medal from the UK Institute of Physics, and the 2002 Michael Faraday Prize from the Royal Society for promoting science to the public. In April 1999, the asteroid 1992 OG was officially named (6870) Pauldavies. In June 2007, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honors list. He has also received the Bicentenary Medal of Chile, Fellowship of University College London and three Honorary Doctorates.