The collection of Paul Davies’ published books, book chapters, and books edited. Click the drop down menu to select a category.
and Other Cosmic QuestionsAug 2021
In the constellation of Eridanus lurks a cosmic mystery. It appears as if something has taken a huge bite out of the universe, leaving a super-void. What is the culprit? A supermassive black hole? Another, bigger universe? Or an expanding vacuum bubble, destined to envelop and annihilate everything in existence?
Are we alone in the universe?Jan 2010
Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history -- the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). But after a half-century of scanning the skies, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence -- eerie, because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life.
Why is the Universe just Right for Life?Apr 2006
For thousands of years, human beings have gazed in wonder at the world about them and asked the big questions: How did the universe come to exist? What is it made of? Where do human beings fit in? Is there some sort of meaning behind the great cosmic scheme of things? In my latest book, I have a stab at answering all of them!
The search for the origin of lifeMar 1999
How, when and where did life begin? Life's origin remains one of the greatest scientific mysteries. Recent discoveries in astrobiology suggest that life might have started on Mars and come to Earth in rocks blasted off the Red Planet by comet impacts. The discovery of microbes living deep underground or round scalding volcanic vents on the sea bed supports the idea that life began in an exotic locale. But how exactly did it start? And what is life anyway?
Paul Davies in Conversation with Phillip AdamsJan 1998
As if we didn't answer enough Big Questions in the first television series, the producer came up with a list of more! This time Phillip Adams and I set up shop in the living room of legendary South Australian artist Hans Heysen and mulled over such posers as chaos theory, Einstein's legacy and science and truth.
In this compilation of essays for an Italian publisher, I consider the merits of the so-called multiverse theory for explaining the nature of the universe we observe.
The philosophical basis of the search for extraterrestrial lifeJun 1996
For decades a heroic band of astronomers has been sweeping the skies with radio telescopes in the (tiny!) hope of stumbling across a message from an alien civilization - a project known as SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). What is the basis for the belief in intelligent aliens? And what would happen if SETI succeeded? How would it affect our science, our religions and our world view?
Einstein's unfinished revolutionApr 1996
The title says it all! Time is one of those endlessly fascinating topics, and I have spent much of my career researching it. What exactly is time? Why does it appear to ‘flow’? Is that an illusion? What makes the past different from the future?
with D. BettsJun 1994
Quantum mechanics is the key to modern physics and chemistry, yet it is notoriously difficult to understand. This book is designed to overcome that obstacle.
Conjectures About The Ultimate Fate Of The UniverseMar 1994
What is the ultimate fate of the universe? Will it die with a bang or a whimper? Or might it live forever? This book examines several scenarios for the exceedingly far future, when the stars have burned out and black holes roam the cosmos. Read about super-civilizations eking out a desperate existence in the cold emptiness of space, or bracing themselves for fiery annihilation in the big crunch.
The Scientific Basis for a Rational WorldMar 1993
The title is taken from the closing passage in Stephen Hawking's famous book. This is my attempt to really get to grips with the science and religion debate. I focus on the idea of God as the rational ground that supports the law-like order in the universe. I see science as a way of uncovering the deep and elegant mathematical structure in nature - of 'glimpsing the mind of God,' as Hawking expressed it. But where did this mathematical order come from? And could it have been different?
Dramatic Discoveries that Challenge Our Understanding of Physical RealityJan 1991
In daily life, matter seems real and concrete. But at the atomic level, solid matter dissolves into ghostly patterns of vibrating energy. So is matter actually the most fundamental aspect of reality, or might it be a secondary construct?
Based on the enigmatic phenomenon of ball lightning, this book is a fast-paced apocalyptic novel about mysterious fireballs that result from grains of antimatter entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
New Discoveries In Natures Ability To Order UniverseFeb 1988
In this critically acclaimed book, I explain how recent scientific advances are transforming our understanding of the emergence of complexity and organization in the universe.
The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of NatureJan 1984
As physicists probe ever deeper into the subatomic structure of matter, it seems increasingly likely that the various fundamental forces of nature are in reality just aspects of a single underlying superforce, which manifested itself in the first split second after the big bang. This book explains the subtle nature of force and matter in easy language, and describes recent attempts to produce the grand unified theory that eluded Einstein.
One of the great questions of existence is why the universe is the way it is. Starting in the 1950s, physicists began to notice lots of curious ‘coincidences’ and special features about the physical world that made it unusually suited to spawn life. What is the source of this bio-friendliness? Is it just an accident, or is there a deeper explanation?
with J.M. DentMar 1982
This book explains with the help of diagrams but no equations the topics of black holes, the origin of the universe and curved spacetime. The concept of a spacetime singularity is discussed in detail, including the possibility of ‘naked singularities’ outside of black holes.
with N.D. BirrellJan 1982
This book presents a comprehensive review of the subject of gravitational effects in quantum field theory. Although the treatment is general, special emphasis is given to the Hawking black hole evaporation effect, and to particle creation processes in the early universe. The last decade has witnessed a phenomenal growth in this subject.
One of the great scientific advances of the present century was the detection of gravitational waves in 2015, a century after Einstein predicted them. This early book explains the basics of gravitational waves for readers with no advanced knowledge of astronomy or mathematics. The long road to discovery has spanned many decades.
A Portrait of Nature in Rebellion, Space, Superspace, and the Quantum UniverseJan 1980
Quantum mechanics famously plays havoc with our understanding of reality. In the 1970s a handful of physicists toyed with the idea that quantum uncertainty implies the existence of a vast number of parallel realities. This so-called many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics was at the time considered bizarre and untestable, so very few physicists supported it.
There are four fundamental forces of nature: electromagnetism, gravitation, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. In the 1960s and 70s there was a huge advance in understanding how these forces operate at the atomic and subatomic level. A plethora of new subatomic particles led to a drive to unify all the forces and particles into a single, all-encompassing theory.
Since the middle of the nineteenth century it has been known that the universe is slowly dying. The notorious second law of thermodynamics predicts the inexorable degeneration of cosmic order. But it’s not all bad news.
This book is a beginners guide to the theory of relativity, with its outlandish predictions such as spacewarps and timewarps, black holes and a universe erupting from nothing. This is a relatively easy way to learn new physics, including advanced material usually omitted from all but the most specialist mathematical treatments.
It is a basic property of nature that our world possesses a structural distinction between past and future; in physics this is known as time asymmetry, and it is a controversial and obscure area of study. Can the asymmetry in time of the everyday world be accounted for on the basis of conventional physics?