John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory.
Avery graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. He received his B.Sc., Physics from M.I.T and M.Sc., Physics, University of Chicago. He completed his Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry from Imperial College, London.
Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988-1997).
Avery is a Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Society of Sciences and Letters, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and recipient of the Heyrovsky Medal of the Czech Academy of Science. He is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Royal Institution of Great Britain. He is a Fellow of the Learning Development Institute, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Nuclear Abolition Forum, the Advisory Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is a Member of the Transcend Network for Peace and Development and Associate of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.