John Scales Avery–One of the Greatest Intellectuals of Our Time Passes Away

OBITUARIES, 4 Mar 2024

Binu Mathew | Countercurrents - TRANSCEND Media Service

I’m informed of the passing of  [TRANSCEND Member] John Scales Avery (26 May 1933 – 4 Jan 2024). He was 91. He was also a fierce peace activist. John was part of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work. He was also Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. John was a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen.

He was a great friend and well-wisher. He worked till the end. His knowledge was copious, it spanned from theoretical chemistry to Greek literature. In his later years, he wrote without rest. Producing book after book on various topics from peace activism to literature, painting, and the lives of great thinkers and philosophers. He wanted to share as much knowledge as possible with future generations before his passing. I was fortunate enough to compile most of his work on a website in his name

I was fortunate enough to meet him at his Copenhagen home. He welcomed me and my friend John Graversgaard warmly and treated us to a sumptuous meal. Without doubt, he was one of the greatest intellectual and peace activists of our time. The world is poorer by his passing.

The family writes:

As you know, for the last four months he was plagued by a broken hip, infections and many hospital stays, but through it all he maintained his characteristic humor, warmth, kindness, great intellect and spirit.


Binu Mathew is the editor of Countercurrents.

John Scales Avery, Ph.D. (26 May 1933 – 4 Jan 2024), who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, was a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He was chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He was the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf). Website:

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