Paul Charles William Davies, AM (born 22 April 1946) is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, currently a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. He has held previous academic appointments at the University of Cambridge, University of London, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, University of Adelaide and Macquarie University. 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. He is also an adviser to the Microbes Mind Forum.
Davies was brought up in Finchley and attended Woodhouse Grammar School on Woodhouse Road. He then studied Physics at UCL, gaining a 1st class BSc in 1967.
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 UCL. He then carried out postdoctoral research under Fred Hoyle at Cambridge University.
Davies' 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. Davies was an author on the widely criticized Science article "A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus."
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.
The asteroid 6870 Pauldavies is named after him.
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 programmes including the children podcast programme Ask A Biologist.
An opinion piece published in the New York Times generated controversy over its exploration of the role of faith in scientific inquiry. Davies argued that the faith scientists have in the immutability of physical laws has origins in Christian theology, and that the claim that science is "free of faith" is "manifestly bogus." The Edge Foundation presented a criticism of Davies' article written by Jerry Coyne, Nathan Myhrvold, Lawrence Krauss, Scott Atran, Sean Carroll, Jeremy Bernstein, PZ Myers, Lee Smolin, John Horgan, Alan Sokal and a response by Davies beginning I was dismayed at how many of my detractors completely misunderstood what I had written. Indeed, their responses bore the hallmarks of a superficial knee-jerk reaction to the sight of the words "science" and "faith" juxtaposed. While atheists Richard Dawkins and Victor J. Stenger have criticised Davies' public stance on science and religion, others, including the John Templeton Foundation have praised his work. Davies wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal where he described the background to the 2 Dec 2010 arsenic bacteria press conference and stated that he supported the 'arsenic can replace phosphorus' idea of Felisa Wolfe-Simon because "I had the advantage of being unencumbered by knowledge. I dropped chemistry at the age of 16, and all I knew about arsenic came from Agatha Christie novels." 
Davies in popular culture
- The novel Naive, Super, by Norwegian writer Erlend Loe (translated by Tor Ketil Solberg), published in 1996, refers to Davies frequently.
- He has an Erdős Number of three.
- Numbers (season 5, episode 12) refers to Paul Davies' Cosmic Think Tank at Arizona State.
- Lawrence Leungs Unbelievable (season 1, episode 3), Leung interviews Paul Davies on Alien abduction, where Paul admits to having experienced sleep paralysis.
- 1974 The Physics of Time Asymmetry, ISBN 0-520-03247-0
- 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, ISBN 0-14-023194-3
- 1982 The Accidental Universe ISBN 0-521-28692-1
- 1982 Quantum Fields in Curved Space (with N.D. Birrell), ISBN 0-521-27858-9
- 1983 God and the New Physics ISBN 0-14-022550-1
- 1984 Superforce, ISBN 0-04-539006-1
- 1986 The Ghost in the Atom, ISBN 0-521-31316-3
- 1987 The Cosmic Blueprint, ISBN 0-04-440182-5
- 1988 Superstrings: A Theory of Everything ISBN 0-521-35741-1
- 1991 The Matter Myth, ISBN 0-670-83585-4
- 1992 The Mind of God, ISBN 0-671-71069-9
- 1994 The Last Three Minutes ISBN 1-85799-336-5
- 1995 Are We Alone? ISBN 0-14-025179-0
- 1995 About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution, ISBN 0-670-84761-5
- 1998 The Fifth Miracle: : The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0684837994
- 2002 How to Build a Time Machine ISBN 0-14-100534-3
- 2007 The Goldilocks Enigma, also under the title Cosmic Jackpot, ISBN 0-14-102326-0
- 2008 Quantum Aspects of Life (Eds. Derek Abbott, Paul C. W. Davies, and Arun K. Pati, with foreword by Sir Roger Penrose), ISBN 1-84816-267-7
- 2010 The Eerie Silence, ISBN 1-4001-6551-2
- 2010 Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics, ISBN 978-0521762250
Essays and papers
- ^ Wolfe-Simon, Felisa; Blum, Jodi Switzer; Kulp, Thomas R.; Gordon, Gwyneth W.; Hoeft, Shelley E.; Pett-Ridge, Jennifer; Stolz, John F.; Webb, Samuel M. et al. (2010-12-02). "A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus". Science 332 (6034): 1163–1166. Bibcode 2011Sci...332.1163W. doi:10.1126/science.1197258. PMID 21127214. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6034/1163.full. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
- ^ a b Davies, Paul (2007-11-24). "Taking Science on Faith". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- ^ Jerry Coyne, Nathan Myhrvold, Lawrence Krauss, Scott Atran, Sean Carroll, Jeremy Bernstein, PZ Myers, Lee Smolin, John Horgan, Alan Sokal. "On "Taking Science on Faith" by Paul C. Davies". Edge.org. http://www.edge.org/discourse/science_faith.html. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- ^ Richard Dawkins (2006). "A Deeply Religious Non-Believer". The God Delusion. Mariner Books. pp. 31–50. ISBN 978-0618918249.
- ^ Victor J. Stenger. "Review of The Cosmic Blueprint". Science & Theology News. University of Colorado. http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/RelSci/CosmicBlueprint.htm.
- ^ Davies, Paul (4 December 2010). "The 'Give Me a Job' Microbe". Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703989004575652940497021092.html. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- ^ AMS collaboration data base
On an Ultimate Explanation: