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Scientific American “Bright Horizons 5”

New England & Canada  • October 1 – 8, 2009

 

PAUL DAVIES, PH.D.

Paul Davies says of his work: “I am a theoretical physicist and cosmologist by profession, but these days I also work in astrobiology, a new field of research that seeks to understand the origin and evolution of life, and to search for life beyond Earth. My interests are very broad, extending from the highly mathematical to the deeply philosophical. I like to ponder the big questions of existence: How did the universe begin? What is the destiny of mankind? Is there a meaning to the universe?”

Dr. Davies was born in London, and spent most of his life in the UK. He has held previous academic appointments at the University of Cambridge, University of London, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1990 Dr. Davies moved to Australia, initially as Professor of Mathematical Physics at The University of Adelaide. Later he helped found the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, based at Macquarie University, Sydney. In 2005, Davies took up the chair of the SETI: Post-Detection Science and Technology Taskgroup of the International Academy of Astronautics. In September 2006 he moved to Arizona State University to establish BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. Dr. Davies is presently a professor at Arizona State University, as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.

Dr. Davies’s inquiries have included theoretical physics, cosmology, the nature of time, and astrobiology; his research has been mainly in the area of quantum field theory in curved spacetime. Among his 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.

Paul Davies has won many awards, including the 1995 Templeton Prize for his work on the deeper implications of science; the 2001 Kelvin Medal from the UK Institute of Physics and the 2002 Michael Faraday Prize from the Royal Society for promoting science to the public. In April 1999 the asteroid 1992 OG was officially named (6870) Pauldavies in his honour.

Dr. Davies is the author of over twenty books, including The Mind of God, Other Worlds, God and the New Physics, The Edge of Infinity, The Runaway Universe/Stardoom, The Cosmic Blueprint, Are We Alone? The Fifth Miracle, The Last Three Minutes, Superforce, The Accidental Universe, About Time, Quantum Fields in Curved Space (with N.D. Birrell), The Physics of Time Asymmetry, How to Build a Time Machine, The Matter Myth and The Goldilocks Enigma, also under the title Cosmic Jackpot.

Among Dr. Davies’s better-known media productions were a series of 45-minute BBC Radio 3 science documentaries. Two of these became successful books and one, Desperately Seeking Superstrings, won the Glaxo Science Writers Fellowship. In early 2000 he devised and presented a three-part series for BBC Radio 4 on the origin of life, entitled The Genesis Factor. His television projects include two six-part Australian series The Big Questions and More Big Questions and a 2003 BBC documentary about his work in astrobiology entitled The Cradle of Life.

JAMES KENNEDY, PH.D.

Dr. James Kennedy is a wine chemist and enologist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University. His research focuses on the chemistry of plant polyphenols with special interest in the area of grape and wine flavonoid chemistry.

Jim Kennedy earned a B.S. in Chemistry in 1987 from the University of California, Davis and was granted a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry in 1999 from the University of California, Davis. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship during 2000–2001 at Adelaide University, South Australia.

Dr. Kennedy is an editor, with Andrew Waterhouse, Ph.D. of the American Chemical Society/Oxford University Press book Red Wine Color: Revealing the Mysteries, and is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles. He is a frequent invited speaker at national and international enology conferences, and publishes extensively in the wine professional press.

Jim Kennedy’s current research pursuits include anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin chemistry, development of analytical methods for plant polyphenol analysis and developmental and processing changes in plant polyphenol structure.

LAWRENCE KRAUSS, PH.D.

Lawrence Krauss is Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Krauss was born in New York City and shortly afterward moved to Toronto, spending his childhood in Canada. He received undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Physics from Carleton University in 1977, and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982. He became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1985. He was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and was Chairman of the Department of Physics at Case Western Reserve University from 1993 to 2005.

His research has been based on an attempt to explore how phenomena at various extremes of scale can be used to probe fundamental physics. Dr. Krauss has become increasingly interested in utilizing the Universe as a laboratory to study fundamental physics. He has been active in the emerging field of particle astrophysics, in which both the cosmological implications of ideas concerning fundamental interactions, and astrophysical and cosmological constraints on particle physics are explored.

Among the areas in which Krauss’ research has focused are: neutrino physics and astrophysics, big bang nucleosynthesis, gravitational lensing, dark matter theory and detection, particle physics phenomenology beyond the Standard Model, axions and the strong CP problem, symmetry breaking in the Standard Model and the cosmology and physics of the electroweak phase transition, ultra-sensitive laboratory probes of new physics at high energy scales, stellar evolution, general relativity and gravitation, early universe physics, gravitational waves, and the physics of black holes and quantum gravity. Krauss is a critic of string theory.

Among Dr. Krauss’ honors are the highest awards of all three major US Physics Societies: the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Institute of Physics. Krauss received the Gravity Research Foundation First prize award in 1984, the Presidential Investigator Award in 1986, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology in 2000, the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize and Andrew Gemant Award in 2001, the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in 2002, the Oersted Medal in 2003, and the American Physical Society Joseph P. Burton Forum Award in 2005.

Dr. Krauss believes that science is in part a vital cultural activity and so regularly appears in national media for public outreach in science and has written many editorials for The New York Times. He is most famous for his advocacy against intelligent design as a result of his involvement on the issue with the state school board of Ohio. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, an organization dedicated to opposing the religious right, and Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.

Dr. Krauss has written non-academic books, among them:

Please visit Dr. Krauss’ website for a complete list of publications and activities.

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