Paul Davies


Born
in London, England, The United Kingdom
April 22, 1946

Genre

Influences


Paul Charles William Davies AM is a British-born 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.

Paul Davies isn't a Goodreads Author (yet), but he does have a blog, so here are some recent posts imported from his feed.

The detection of gravitational waves will open up a new spectrum of the universe – finally demonstrating a theory presented a century ago

History may judge 2015 as the year when mankind opened up a completely new window on the universe, exactly a century after Albert Einstein laid the scientific foundations for it. The excitement concerns the possibility of detecting one of nature’s most elusive...

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Published on December 06, 2015 23:00 • 118 views
Average rating: 3.94 · 15,941 ratings · 1,226 reviews · 210 distinct worksSimilar authors
About Time: Einstein's Unfi...

4.17 avg rating — 3,010 ratings — published 1995 — 14 editions
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The Mind of God: The Scient...

3.90 avg rating — 1,501 ratings — published 1992 — 21 editions
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God and the New Physics

3.98 avg rating — 1,015 ratings — published 1983 — 21 editions
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The Eerie Silence: Renewing...

3.97 avg rating — 1,162 ratings — published 2010 — 21 editions
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The Goldilocks Enigma: Why ...

4.03 avg rating — 922 ratings — published 2006 — 11 editions
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How to Build a Time Machine

3.81 avg rating — 1,010 ratings — published 2001 — 23 editions
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The Last Three Minutes: Con...

3.80 avg rating — 781 ratings — published 1994 — 30 editions
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The Fifth Miracle: The Sear...

3.97 avg rating — 334 ratings — published 1999 — 11 editions
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Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Uni...

3.93 avg rating — 271 ratings — published 1988 — 10 editions
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Are We Alone? Philosophical...

3.84 avg rating — 202 ratings — published 1995 — 8 editions
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“Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth - the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient "coincidences" and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle, the distinguished cosmologist, once said it was as if "a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics".

To see the problem, imagine playing God with the cosmos. Before you is a designer machine that lets you tinker with the basics of physics. Twiddle this knob and you make all electrons a bit lighter, twiddle that one and you make gravity a bit stronger, and so on. It happens that you need to set thirtysomething knobs to fully describe the world about us. The crucial point is that some of those metaphorical knobs must be tuned very precisely, or the universe would be sterile.

Example: neutrons are just a tad heavier than protons. If it were the other way around, atoms couldn't exist, because all the protons in the universe would have decayed into neutrons shortly after the big bang. No protons, then no atomic nucleuses and no atoms. No atoms, no chemistry, no life. Like Baby Bear's porridge in the story of Goldilocks, the universe seems to be just right for life.”
Paul Davies

“When I was a child, I often used to lie awake at night, in fearful anticipation of some unpleasant event the following day, such as a visit to the dentist, and wish I could press some sort of button that would have the effect of instantly transporting me twenty-four hours into the future. The following night, I would wonder whether that magic button was in fact real, and that the trick had indeed worked. After all, it was twenty-four hours later, and though I could remember the visit to the dentist, it was, at that time, only a memory of an experience, not an experience.”
Paul Davies, About Time

“Until now, I've been writing about "now" as if it were literally an instant of time, but of course human faculties are not infinitely precise. It is simplistic to suppose that physical events and mental events march along exactly in step, with the stream of "actual moments" in the outside world and the stream of conscious awareness of them perfectly synchronized. The cinema industry depends on the phenomenon that what seems to us a movie is really a succession of still pictures, running at twenty-five [sic] frames per second. We don't notice the joins. Evidently the "now" of our conscious awareness stretches over at least 1/25 of a second.

In fact, psychologists are convinced it can last a lot longer than that. Take he familiar "tick-tock" of the clock. Well, the clock doesn't go "tick-tock" at all; it goes "tick-tick," every tick producing the same sound. It's just that our consciousness runs two successive ticks into a singe "tick-tock" experience—but only if the duration between ticks is less than about three seconds. A really bug pendulum clock just goes "tock . . . tock . . . tock," whereas a bedside clock chatters away: "ticktockticktock..." Two to three seconds seems to be the duration over which our minds integrate sense data into a unitary experience, a fact reflected in the structure of human music and poetry.”
Paul Davies, About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution



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