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Paul Charles William Davies AM (born 22 April 1946) is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, currently a professor at Arizona State Universitymarker as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. He has held previous academic appointments at the University of Cambridgemarker, University of London, University of Newcastle upon Tynemarker, University of Adelaidemarker and Macquarie Universitymarker. His research interests are in the fields of cosmology, quantum field theory, and astrobiology. He has proposed that a one-way trip to Mars could be a viable option.

In 2005, he took up the chair of the SETI: Post-Detection Science and Technology Taskgroup of the International Academy of Astronautics.


In 1970, he completed his PhD entitled Contributions to Theoretical Physics: (i) Radiation Damping in the Optical Continuum (ii) A Quantum Theory of Wheeler-Feynman Electrodynamics under Michael J. Seaton and Sigurd Zienau at University College Londonmarker. He then was a postdoc under Fred Hoyle at the University of Cambridgemarker.

Scientific research

Davies's inquiries have included theoretical physics, cosmology, and astrobiology; his research has been mainly in the area of quantum field theory in curved spacetime. Notable contributions are the so-called Fulling-Davies-Unruh effect, according to which an observer accelerating through empty space will perceive a bath of thermal radiation, and the Bunch-Davies vacuum state, often used as the basis for explaining the fluctuations in the cosmic background radiation left over from the big bang. A paper co-authored with Stephen Fulling and William Unruh was the first to suggest that black holes evaporating via the Hawking effect lose mass as a result of a flux of negative energy streaming into the hole from the surrounding space. Davies has had a longstanding association with the problem of time’s arrow, and was also a forerunner of the theory that life on Earth may have come from Mars cocooned in rocks ejected by asteroid and comet impacts. During his time in Australia he helped establish the Australian Centre for Astrobiology.


He has produced over twenty books, including:

  • 1974 The Physics of Time Asymmetry
  • 1978 The Runaway Universe ISBN 0-460-04286-6)
  • 1979 Stardoom ISBN 0-00-635318-5
  • 1980 Other Worlds, ISBN 0-460-04400-1
  • 1981 The Edge of Infinity
  • 1982 The Accidental Universe ISBN 0-521-28692-1
  • 1982 Quantum Fields in Curved Space (with N.D. Birrell)
  • 1983 God and the New Physics ISBN 0-14-022550-1
  • 1984 Superforce
  • 1986 The Ghost in the Atom
  • 1987 The Cosmic Blueprint
  • 1988 Superstrings: A Theory of Everything ISBN 0-521-35741-1
  • 1991 The Matter Myth
  • 1992 The Mind of God
  • 1994 The Last Three Minutes ISBN 1-85799-336-5
  • 1995 Are We Alone? ISBN 0-14-025179-0
  • 1995 About Time
  • 1998 The Fifth Miracle: : The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • 2002 How to Build a Time Machine ISBN 0-14-100534-3
  • 2007 The Goldilocks Enigma, also under the title Cosmic Jackpot
  • 2008 Quantum Aspects of Life (Eds. Derek Abbott, Paul C. W. Davies, and Arun K. Pati, with foreword by Sir Roger Penrose)

Essays and papers

" What Happened Before the Big Bang?" in God for the 21st Century, Russell Stannard ed., Templeton Foundation Press, 2000, ISBN 1890151394


Davies' talent as a communicator of science has been recognized in Australia by an Advance Australia Award and two Eureka Prizes, and in the UK by the 2001 Kelvin Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics, and the 2002 Faraday Prize by The Royal Society. Davies received the Templeton Prize in 1995.

Davies was made a member of the Order of Australia in the 2007 Queen's birthday honours list

Media activity

Davies writes and comments on scientific and philosophical issues. He made a documentary series for BBC Radio 3, and two Australian television series, The Big Questions and More Big Questions. His BBC documentary ‘The Cradle of Life’ featured the subject of his Faraday Prize lecture. He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has been guest on numerous radio and television programs including the children podcast program Ask A Biologist.

Davies in popular culture

Borosh, I.; Chui, C. K.; Erdos, P.On changes of signs in infinite series. (Russian summary)Anal. Math. 4 (1978), no. 1, 3–12. \rightarrow Fulling, Stephen A.(1-TXAM); Borosh, Itshak(1-TXAM); da Conturbia, Andrea(1-TXAM)Cataloguing general graphs by point and line spectra. (English summary)Comput. Phys. Comm. 115 (1998), no. 2-3, 93–112. \rightarrow Davies, P. C. W.; Fulling, S. A.; Christensen, S. M.; Bunch, T. S.Energy-momentum tensor of a massless scalar quantum field in a Robertson-Walker universe.Ann. Physics 109 (1977), no. 1, 108–142.


Scientists critical of what they see as Davies' religious agenda include Jerry Coyne, Nathan Myhrvold, Lawrence Krauss, Scott Atran, Sean Carroll, Jeremy Bernstein, PZ Myers, Lee Smolin, John Horgan, Alan Sokal (all ten responding to Davies' article "Taking Science On Faith" at Edge .org's Reality Club), Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion chapter 1) and Victor J Stenger (reviewing The Cosmic Blueprint).

See also


Davies videos

On an Ultimate Explanation:

External links

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