About Paul Davies




Paul Davies
Paul Davies in 2016. Photo credit: Christopher Michel. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

By profession, I am a theoretical physicist who has worked for much of my career in astrophysics and cosmology, with emphasis on the origin and very early stages of the universe, the quantum properties of black holes and the nature of time.

I am also interested in the nature and origin of life and the possibility of life – including intelligent life – beyond Earth, which extends to complex systems generally. These twin interests inevitably lead me into areas where physics and biology overlap.

In recent years I have also become involved in research on the origin of cancer and its deep evolutionary roots, a subject with important implications for therapy.

My main approach to research is to explore the proverbial ‘big questions’ of existence, from what happened before the big bang, to whether or not we are alone in the universe. These are questions of interest to philosophers and even theologians too. 


  • BSc First Class in Physics, University College London, 1967
  • PhD, Physics Department, University College London, 1970
  • DSc honoris causa, Macquarie University, Sydney (2006)
  • DSc honoris causa, Chapman University, California (2009)
  • DSc honoris causa, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (2019)

Professional appointments

  • Regents' Professor, Arizona State University (2012)
  • Professor of Physics, Arizona State University (2006)
  • Director, Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, Arizona State University (2006)
  • Visiting Professor, University of New South Wales (2015)
  • Professor of Natural Philosophy, Macquarie University (2001-2006)
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics, University of Queensland (1998-2001)
  • Professor of Natural Philosophy, The University of Adelaide (1993-1997)
  • Professor of Mathematical Physics, The University of Adelaide (1990-1993)
  • Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1980-1990)
  • Lecturer in Mathematics, King's College, University of London (1972-1980)
  • Research Fellow, Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, University of Cambridge (1970-1972)

Professional organizations

  • Board of Advisors, Leverhulme Quantum Biology Centre, University of Surrey
  • Board of Trustees, Templeton World Charity Foundation
  • Grants and Programs Committee, Templeton World Charity Foundation
  • Board of Advisors, Templeton World Charity Foundation
  • Board of Advisors, John Templeton Foundation
  • Advisory Committee, Breakthrough Listen 
  • Advisory Committee, Matter-to-Life 
  • Advisory Board, Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement, Dartmouth College
  • Editorial Board, Oncogene (journal)
  • Editorial Board, Astrobiology (journal)
  • Visiting Professor of Physics, UNSW
  • PLuS Alliance Fellow

Awards and honors

  • DSc honoris causa, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (2019)
  • Regents' Professor at Arizona State University (2012)
  • Robinson Cosmology Prize (2011)
  • Fellowship of University College London (2011)
  • Bicentenary Medal of Chile (2011)
  • Klumpke-Roberts Prize, Astronomical Society of the Pacific (2011)
  • DSc honoris causa, Chapman University, California (2009)
  • Member of the Order of Australia (2007)
  • DSc honoris causa, Macquarie University, Sydney (2006)
  • Trotter Prize, Texas A & M University (2004)
  • Wilbur Award for religious-themed media, USA (2004)
  • Most Beautiful Export Award, Australia (2003)
  • J.K. Russell Fellowship, CTNS, Berkeley (2003)
  • American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award (2003)
  • Michael Faraday Award, The Royal Society (2002)
  • Nomination, Australian of the Year (2002)
  • Kelvin Medal and Prize, Institute of Physics, UK (2001)
  • Asteroid 1992 OG renamed, "(6870) Pauldavies" (1999)
  • The Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion (1995)
  • Templeton - CTNS Book Prize (1995)
  • Advance Australia Award for outstanding contributions to science (1993)
  • Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Science (Australia) (1992)
  • Eureka Book Prize (Australia) (1991)
  • Glaxo Science Writers Fellowship (UK) (1983)