John Scales Avery was born in 1933 in Lebanon, where his father was Professor of Anatomy at the American University of Beirut. He received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles, both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. In 1969 he founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and he served as its Managing Editor until 1980. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization between 1988 and 1997, and as Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs between 1990 and the present. In 1995 Pugwash Conferences, as an organization, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with its president, Sir Joseph Rotblat. Between 2004 and 2014, Dr. Avery served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy.
Dr. Avery is noted for his books and research papers 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 is a Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Society of Sciences and Letters, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and recipiant 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, and is the author of more than 30 books and 200 articles.