John Scales Avery

World Peace Activist | Author | Professor

John was part of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work. He is also Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. John is currently theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. 



The future well-being of human society depends on how we we manage our global supply of fresh water. This book by John Scales Avery discusses various aspects of the relationship of water with human society, and with all life on planet earth.

67 Years in the Peace Movement

John Scales Avery has a long history of working on causes of peace, economic equality, and helping us think of what a better world could look like. Here he shares his experience of working in the peace movement for almost seven decades

The Social Responsibility of Scientists

We must educate our scientists in such a way that the acquisition of a sense of social responsibility will be part of their education. The latest book by John Scales Avery.


We must urgently address the problem of climate change and we must shift money from military expenditure to the support of birth control programs and agricultural research

Lives in Mathematics

This book will be of interest to students of mathematics and other disciplines related to mathematics, such as theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry.

The World As It Is And The World As It Could Be

John Avery tries to contrast the world that we experience today, filled with terrifying existential threats, such as catastrophic climate change, pandemics, all-destroying nuclear war, and the threat of large-scale famine, with the world that we would wish it to be

Madmen and Economists

John Scales Avery discusses the reasons for economists’ almost-religious belief in growth, and the impossibility of long-continued growth of anything physical on a finite planet

Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand is at Our Throats

Today, our greed-based, war addicted and growth-obsessed economic system poses even greater threats than it did during the early phases of the Industrial Revolution.

Ethics for the Future

A society that is technologically advanced, but ethically primitive, will destroy itself. We need a global ethical system to match our technologically advanced global society.

A History of the Earth

On our small but beautiful earth, made small by technology, made beautiful by nature, there is room for one group only: the family of humankind.

The Road Not Taken

Although we might embrace our destiny, we sometimes think with regret on the road not taken, and wonder what might have been if we had chosen other paths.

Ye Are Many, They Are Few!

This book by John Scales Avery addresses the question of how oligarchs maintain their grasp on an excessive share of wealth and power when, as Shelley points out, the have-nots are many, while the power-holders are few.

Our World is Burning

Although the worst threats from catastrophic climate change lie in the long-term future, we are starting to see the effects of climate change today.

The Ecological Impact of Militarism

The survival of civilization can only be ensured if we are able to abolish destructive weapons and the institution of war. We must develop a new global ethic, which will replace our narrow loyalties by loyalty to humanity as a whole.

Remembering the 1960’s

The 1960’s can inspire us today because as well as being a period of change, the decade was characterized by hope and optimism. We need hope. We need optimism.

Some Aspects of Quantum Theory

This book by John Scales Avery will be of interest to students and researchers in mathematics, physics and theoretical chemistry. The book especially emphasizes the relativistic treatment of resonance energy transfer.

Lives in Exploration

This book traces the history of how humans explored and settled in the entire earth, and in our own times even reached out farther, exploring the outermost parts of the solar system.

Human Nature

Conflicting answers have been given by philosophers, scientists and religious leaders over the centuries about the human nature. These answers will be reviewed and discussed in this book by John Scales Avery

Malthus Revisited

Many people maintain that because both our food supply and the global population of humans have grown so enormously, Malthus was wrong. However, John Scales Avery believes that we still must listen to the warning voice of Malthus

Benefits of Equality

“If Trump is a symptom, what is the disease?” One often encounters this interesting question in alternative media articles. I think that at least part of the answer is “Excessive economic inequality”.

Lives in Education

Education is an investment that gives dividends. The life of a knowledge worker is extremely interesting and rewarding. We need to reform our teaching of history so that the emphasis will be placed on the gradual growth of human culture and knowledge, a growth to which all nations and ethnic groups have contributed.

Rebuilding After Corona

It is hard to predict how long the terrible COVID-19 pandemic will last, but at some time in the future it will end. The post-pandemic world must be a new and changed world!

Lives in Poetry

In this book, John Scales Avery presents an historical anthology of the poems of some of the world’s great poets, from very early times until the present, and from many countries and cultures.

Linked Dangers to Civilization

In this book, John Scales Avery explores the following issues: dangers from COVID-19, catastrophic climate change, the danger of thermonuclear war, the danger of widespread famine, the global refugee crisis, the loss of democratic institutions, apocalyptic loss of biodiversity, and intolerable economic inequality.

Lives in Painting

In this book, John Scales Avery shares the story of the lives and work of some of the world’s great painters, from earliest times to the present.

Climate Change Means Lifestyle Change

This book by John Scales Avery deals with the world’s failure to adequately address the existential danger of catastrophic climate change.

Lives in Engineering

Science and engineering have combined to give humans mastery over nature. This latest book by John Scales Avery traces that historical development, looking mainly at the contributions of engineering.

Lives in Astronomy

The Earth may be just a small blue speck drifting in the dark immensity of space, but it is our home, and we must work with courage and dedication to care for it.

Terrorism: A False Threat

This book by John Scales Avery deals with the terrible consequences of the so-called “War on Terror” which followed the 9/11 attacks.

Fighting for America’s Soul

The book deals with the the current deep split in public opinion in the United States. Democratic institutions are in danger from racism and neo-fascism. Progressives are fighting to save the values and institutions on which their country was founded. They are fighting to save America’s soul.

Lives in Chemistry

This book by John Scales Avery discusses lives in Chemistry and is part of a series on cultural history

The Passions of Mankind

This book by John Scales Avery discusses human emotions, seen from an evolutionary perspective.

Lives in Medicine

This book by John Scales Avery makes use of articles and book chapters that he has previously and recently written about the history of medicine.

Lives in Ecology

This book reviews the lives and thoughts of some of the women and men who have addressed the crucial problems of ecology and sustainability that we are currently facing. We need their voices today!

Fascism, Then and Now

There are many extremely worrying similarities between fascism in Europe in the 1930’s and the neo-fascism that we can see around us today.

Lives in Physics

This book by John Scales Avery aims to contribute to the goal of making the history of physics and its social impact available to a wide audience.

Lives in Economics

In this book, the lives of some of the women and men who have contributed to economic thought are sketched. Their ideas can help us today, as the world faces a crisis that has both economic and ecological dimensions.

Lives in the Peace Movement

It is not an impossible goal to think of enlarging the already-large groups of the modern world to include all of humanity. On our small but beautiful earth, made small by technology, made beautiful by nature, there is room for one group only: the all-inclusive family of humankind.

We Need an Ecological Revolution

Since rapid and fundamental changes are urgently needed to save the future, it is perhaps not an exaggeration to speak of the need for an ecological revolution. However, it must be a non-violent revolution.

Saving the Future

Only immediate climate action can save the future. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon

A World Federation

In order to save the world from destruction in a thermonuclear World War III, the United Nations Charter must be reformed and strengthened.

Searching for Truth

This book is about our search for truth. How can we distinguish truth from falsehood in a world where government controlled and corporation controlled mass media use distractions, omissions, lies and propaganda to manipulate us?

Population and the Environment

One hopes that human wisdom and ethics will continue to grow, but indefinite growth of population and industry on a finite earth is a logical impossibility.

The Information Explosion

This book discusses the role of information in evolution, and especially in the evolution of human culture.

The Devil’s Dynamo

It is a collection of articles and book chapters that John Scales Avery has written about the way in which military-industrial complexes throughout the world drive and perpetuate the institution of war. A considerable amount of new material has also been added.

Where Do We come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Regardless of whether the earth has a special importance when viewed on the scale of our fathomless universe, it is certainly important to us, and to the plants and animals with which we share the gift of life

Ethics and Evolution

In this book, John Scales Avery discusses evolution, artificial life, religious opposition to evolution, horrors linked to social Darwinism, the need for human solidarity and more.

Climate Change, Population Growth and Famine

Unless efforts are made to stabilize and ultimately reduce global population, there is a serious threat that climate change, population growth, and the end of the fossil fuel era could combine to produce a large-scale famine by the middle of the 21st century

Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil

This book is a collection of articles and book chapters that John Scales Avery has written advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons. Some new material has also been added, for example a discussion of the Nuclear Weapons Convention which has recently been adopted by an overwhelming majority vote at the United Nations General Assembly.

The Climate Emergency: Two Time Scales

In his book John Scales Avery argues why is climate change an emergency and why quick change is needed to save the long-term future.

Languages and Classification

John Scales Avery explains languages and their classification in his book

Memories of Beirut and Tehran

This book is a collection of photos and descriptions documenting the period from 1926 to 1950 when my family spent many years in the Middle East. We were impressed with the high culture and enormous hospitality of the people whom we met, both in Beirut and in Tehran.

Collected Essays Vol I

This book contains a collection of essays and articles by John Scales Avery discussing the severe problems and challenges which the world faces during the 21st century.

Collected Essays Vol II

This book contains a collection of essays and articles by John Scales Avery discussing the severe problems and challenges which the world faces during the 21st century.

Collected Essays Vol III

This book contains a collection of essays and articles by John Scales Avery discussing the severe problems and challenges which the world faces during the 21st century.

Collected Essays Vol IV

This book contains a collection of essays and articles by John Scales Avery discussing the severe problems and challenges which the world faces during the 21st century.

Collected Essays Vol V

This book contains a collection of essays and articles by John Scales Avery discussing the severe problems and challenges which the world faces during the 21st century.

Space-Age Science and Stone-Age Politics

Looking beneath the surface of today’s news stories, we can discern an explosive mixture – Space Space-Age-Science-and-Stone-Age-Politicsage science and stone age politics. This book discusses the tensions created by the rapid rate of scientific and technological change, contrasted with the slow rate of change of our political institutions.

CRISIS 21: Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century

This book describes the links between the serious problems that are facing the world today – threats to the environment, growing population coupled with vanishing resources, intolerable economic inequality and the threat of nuclear war – and it proposes holistic solutions.

We Need Their Voices Today!

This book is a collection of biographical sketches showing people whose wise voices from the past can help to guide us today. All of the women and men, brief glimpses of whose lives and ideas are portrayed here, gave a high place to compassion. None of them was a slave to greed. We need their voices today!

Progress, Poverty and Population: Re-reading Condorcet, Godwin and Malthus

This work traces the history of a debate which took place among the economists, political philosophers and writers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, about whether the benefits of scientific progress would be nullified by the growth of the global population.

The Need for a New Economic System

It is clear that our present economic system is unsustainable. Never-ending exponential industrial growth on a finite planet is a logical absurdity. We are already using resources at a rate which it would take 1.6 planet earths to replace. We are already undermining the ecological systems which support all of life. Our present economic system has led to an unbelievable degree of economic inequality.

Information Theory and Evolution

This highly interdisciplinary book discusses the phenomenon of life, including its origin and evolution (and also human cultural evolution), against the background of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Among the central themes is the seeming contradiction between the second law of thermodynamics and the high degree of order and complexity produced by living systems.

Civilization’s Crisis: A Set of Linked Challenges

Modern civilization faces a broad spectrum of daunting problems, but rational solutions are available for them all. This book explores the following issues: (1) Threats to the environment and climate change; (2) a growing population and vanishing resources; (3) the global food and refugee crisis; (4) intolerable economic inequality; (5) the threat of nuclear war; (6) the military-industrial complex; and (7) limits to growth. These problems are closely interlinked, and their possible solutions are discussed in this book.

Energy, Climate Change and Global Food Security

The proceedings of a symposium discussing future food shortages that may be produced by rising energy prices, climate change and population growth.

Science and Society

The latest advancements and discoveries in science have made, and continue to make, a huge impact on our lives. This book is a history of the social impact of science and technology from the beginnings of civilization up to the present. The book explains how the key inventions: agriculture, writing and printing with movable type, initiated an explosive growth of knowledge and human power over the environment. It also shows how the Industrial Revolution changed the relationship between humans and nature, and initiated a massive use of fossil fuels.

A Critical Decade

Humanity is hurtling towards destruction unless we have the collective wisdom to change course quickly.

Why War?

Nuclear weapons are criminal! Every war is a crime! Can we not rid the world of these insane and antihuman weapons before everything of value in our beautiful world is reduced to radioactive ashes?

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