“The principle of maximum diversity says that the laws of nature, and the initial conditions at the beginning of time, are such as to make the universe as interesting as possible.”

Freeman Dyson
"Progress in Religion" (2002)
A talk given at the National Catherdral in Washington, D.C. upon receiving the Templeton Prize



Chair

Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist, is a professor and the founding director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University (ASU). He is also principal investigator in the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology and co-director of ASU’s Cosmology Initiative. For three decades, he has been a leading communicator on science through books and broadcasts for general audiences. Educated at University College London, where he achieved first class honors in physics and went on to earn a Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1970, Dr. Davies held academic appointments in astronomy, physics, and mathematics at the universities of Cambridge, London (King’s College), Newcastle upon Tyne, and Adelaide. He was then professor of natural philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University before joining the ASU faculty in 2006. His research has spanned the fields of cosmology, gravitation, quantum field theory, and astrobiology, with particular emphasis on black holes, the origin of the universe, and the origin of life on which he has published several hundred papers in scientific journals. For the past five years, he has chaired the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Post-Detection Science and Technology Taskgroup of the International Academy of Astronautics, which is dedicated to reflecting on the societal consequences of the discovery of evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence. Awarded honorary degrees by Macquarie and by Chapman University, he received the 1995 Templeton Prize. He also is the recipient of the 2001 Kelvin Medal presented by the UK Institute of Physics and the 2002 Michael Faraday Prize of the Royal Society, both of which recognized his contributions to promoting science to the public, as well as the Order of Australia. The asteroid 1992 OG was officially named (6870) “Pauldavies” in his honor. He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Australian Institute of Physics, the Royal Literary Society, and the World Economic Forum. Dr. Davies has edited a number of volumes, including (with Philip Clayton) The Re-Emergence of Emergence (2006) and (with Niels Gregersen) Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics, which was published this autumn by Cambridge University Press. The author of more than twenty-five books, his specialist works include The Physics of Time Asymmetry (1974) and Quantum Fields in Curved Space (1982). His better known popular works are The Mind of God (1992), About Time: Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution (1995), How to Build a Time Machine (2002), The Goldilocks Enigma: Why the Universe is Just Right for Life (2006) and, most recently, The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence, which was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (USA) and Penguin Books (UK) in 2010 to critical acclaim for its deep questioning of the assumptions that aliens would be like us and that life must always evolve on planets that can support it. Dr. Davies also has extensive experience in television and radio, including the presentation of two Australian television series entitled The Big Questions. His work in astrobiology was the subject of a BBC television documentary, “The Cradle of Life.”