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I am an author and computer scientist


I am Dr. Peter J. Bentley


My Books for Students and Researchers

"Digital biology is at a crucial point in its history; it is quickly changing from thought experiments into a real science, and Bentley is part of the experience. His book is fascinating because it gives us a sense of what it's like to be overwhelmed the way Bentley is these days -- he calls it 'riding a tornado.'"

- New York Times

A PhD can be one of the most challenging things you do in your life. It can also be one of the most rewarding - resulting in you becoming a world expert in your area of choice and making significant impact in the sciences, arts or humanities. But when the whole process of obtaining funding, finding a good supervisor, deciding on your research area and writing a research proposal seems so difficult, many potential PhD students are never able to begin this life-changing experience.

by Peter J Bentley.




"Brilliant. This book is a must for PhD application. The most useful handbook I have read on the process to date including how to find funding and impress your supervisor to be."

- C. Medcraft

The PhD Application Handbook

Digital Biology is a major new popular science book by Peter J Bentley describing processes of nature such as evolution, brains, insect swarms, immune systems and development and showing how we use the same processes within computers to solve our problems.


Available all over the world, including: US and Canada (Simon and Schuster), UK (Paperback: Review Pub., Hardback: Hodder Headline), Brazil (Berkeley), Korea (Gimm-Young).


by Peter J Bentley.



How nature is transforming our technology and our lives

Imagine a future world where computers can create universes - digital environments made from binary ones and zeros. Imagine that within these universes there exist biological forms that reproduce, grow and think. Imagine plant-like forms, ant colonies, immune systems and brains, all adapting, evolving and getting better at solving problems. Imagine if our computers became greenhouses for a new kind of nature. Just think what digital biology could do for us. Perhaps it could evolve new designs for us, think up ways to detect fraud using digital neurons, or solve scheduling problems with ants. Perhaps it would allow our computers to become creative and inventive.


Now stop imagining.


Digital Biology


"Be prepared for a fast ride through a dizzying digital universe driven by an amiable and enthusiastic guide.."

- Kirkus Reviews

by Peter J Bentley.



The secrets of numbers and how they created our world




The Book of Numbers describes the history of numbers in philosophy, art, music, architecture, quantum mechanics, physics, computer technology, literature, biology, commerce, religion, and the occult. This beautifully illustrated book uses computer imagery, historical drawing, paintings and photography in 350 colour and b/w pictures.


Available all over the world, including: UK (Cassell Illustrated), US/Canada (Firefly Books), France (Groupe Eyrolles), French-Canadian (Reader's Digest), German (Primus Verlag), Netherlands (Fontaine Uitgevers), Korea (SKK University), Japan (Yu-Shokan), Spain (Editorial Paidos), Brazil (Larousse), Turkey (Domingo)


Some first edition versions may contain editing errors; download a printable list of amendments here.

Numbers are fundamental to our understanding of our universe and our lives, and yet most of us have very little everyday understanding of mathematics. This beautifully illustrated book with 350 colour and b/w pictures gives a synopsis of many of the most important mathematical discoveries and captures some of the spirit of the people who have contributed to unravelling the secrets of numbers.

The Book of Numbers by Peter J Bentley is a fascinating new popular science book describing everything from the discovery of zero to infinity, and is calculated to amaze and inspire people of all ages in the subject.


The Book of Numbers

"This is the first time in my life I've thanked an author in this manner, but I simply wish to say that your "Book of Numbers" is just a wonderful piece of work which I'm so glad I've stumbled across. It's totally absorbing reading.

Thank You."

- Des Conway (from Australia)

"Hugely enjoyable, this book demystifies science in such an amusing way that I found it hard to put down.

... The light touch and humorous presentation covers a great deal of complex science and detailed research - the mark of a great teacher."

- Janet Tester, reFresh Magazine

Investigating the mishaps of everyday life

by Peter J Bentley.




We all know that things go wrong: wine stains, toast burns, computers crash. But how many of us pause to think why these accidents happen?

Undercover Scientist Peter Bentley is fascinated by the science of the everyday, and in this eye-opening book he probes into the reasons why mishaps occur, from sleeping through the alarm to making the bathwater overflow. He describes exactly what happens when you put metal in a microwave and why getting the juice from chilli peppers in your eye is so painful. If you want to find out why lightning actually does strike the same place twice, The Undercover Scientist has all the answers.


Available all over the world, including: UK (Random House), USA (Rodale), Spain (Ariel, part of Planeta Group), Italy (Rizzoli), Germany (Piper), French (Dunod), Portugal (Publicações Europa-america), Taiwan (Commonweath Publishing), Japan (Shincho sha), Korea (GimmYoung). 

Unabridged UK audio book published by Whole Story Audio Books, narrated by Roger May.

Unabridged US audio book published March 2009 by Brilliance Audio Books, narrated by Phil Gigante.


Click here to download the unabridged bibliography.

The Undercover Scientist

Why Sh*t Happens

by Peter J Bentley.



The science of a really bad day

Also published in some countries with the title:

Listen to audio book previews:

The science of computers and how it shapes our lives




by Peter J Bentley.




For everyone from the general reader interested in computers to IT students, Digitized covers the whole of computer science - from maths to engineering to social sciences. Through interviews with past pioneers and current researchers, Bentley captures the excitement and possibilities of the technological revolution caused by computer science.

Your world is DIGITZED - find out why.

Publisher: OUP Oxford.

"This is an extraordinary book that not only maps the technological developments, but also looks at the lives of the extraordinary people that made the leaps of imagination required to achieve the amazing developments that are in common use today...

I have always thought that no book deserves 10 out of 10, but for this one I make an exception." 

- Shelia Bullas, British Computer Society

"Why Sh*t Happens is a phenomenal book that even the least scientifically-inclined person, myself included, has a place for it on a bookshelf at home or permanently stashed in a backpack, ready at all times. Bentley accomplishes a feat of scientific writing that can only be described as, 'Thank you, sir.'"

- Ashley Mcgee, Piasano Magazine

My Books


There's a hidden science that affects every part of your life. You are fluent in its terminology of email, WiFi, social networking, and encryption. You use its results when you make a telephone call, access the Internet, use any factory-produced product, or travel in any modern car. The science of computers enables the supply and creation of power, food, water, medicine, transport, money, communication, entertainment, and most goods in shops. Charting the successes and failures of computer science through the years, Peter J. Bentley discusses what innovations may change our world in the future.  






"This is an excellent resource in Genetic Algorithms and Design. I recommend this book highly."

- Larry M Deschaine, PE


Some of the most startling achievements in the use of computers to automate design are being accomplished by the use of evolutionary search algorithms to evolve



Evolutionary Design by Computers provides a showcase of the best and most original work of the leading experts in Evolutionary Computation, Engineering Design, Computer Art, and Artificial Life.


By bringing together the highest achievers in these fields, including a foreword by Richard Dawkins, this book provides the definitive coverage of significant developments in Evolutionary Design.


A CD-ROM is included with the book, providing readers with hands-on activities, evolved images, animations, and source code related to the text.


Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann.


Evolutionary Design by Computers

edited by Peter J Bentley.




Evolutionary computation now provides solutions for applications in creative areas such as architecture, art, music, and design. The potential of evolutionary computation in this general area is vast; there are already displays at art galleries featuring abstract evolutionary art and structures being built according to innovative designs generated with evolutionary computation systems. 


There are other exciting applications of evolutionary computation for which the keywords are innovation and creativity; for example, evolving novel flight manoeuvres for combat aircraft, and evolving novel playing strategies for soccer teams.


A CD-ROM is included with the book, which includes a collection of evolved music (from dance to jazz).


Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann.


edited by Peter J Bentley and David Corne.



"This book is excellent collection of articles that lead us in the filed of relationships between evolution, creativity, technology, software, hardware. It is very important to read this book in order to understand new developments in interaction between humans, science and technology. Highly recommended."

- anonymous reviewer

Creative Evolutionary Systems

By augmenting experimental biology with computer models of development, biologists are building a greater understanding of how developmental processes such as pattern formation, morphogenesis, cell signalling and regeneration construct the staggering complexities of living organisms. At the same time, by creating computer algorithms based on developmental processes, computer scientists are enabling computers to solve a range of challenging problems such as neural network design and robot control.

Includes chapters from many of the best and most respected scientists in their fields (including Lewis Wolpert, Richard Dawkins, Ian Stewart, Hans Meinhardt, and Randall Beer). As disciplines increasingly merge in areas such as computational biology and bioinformatics, this book forms a much-needed interface between the fields of developmental biology and computer science, providing an invaluable reference for researchers and students in evolutionary biology, artificial life, anatomy and evolutionary computation.


Publisher: Academic Press.



"The book has all the materials--case studies from the seashore, the growing flower-garden, and desert-striding camels; background engineering and developmental genetics; as well as conceptual and inspirational pieces--to equip the biologists and computer scientists who will take the subject forward."

-Mark Ridley, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

On Growth, Form and Computers

The PhD Application Handbook reveals all you need to know - from widely publicised requirements to secrets that academics don't normally talk about - to ensure you achieve the best start to your doctorate as possible. The book includes a detailed resource guide, which contains information including how to apply for different forms of PhD, student visas, and the range of funding options available for students of all nationalities wishing to perform research in the UK.

Publisher: Open University Press.


edited by Sanjeev Kumar and Peter J Bentley.



10 Short Lessons in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

by Peter J Bentley.




From the face-recognition on your smartphone to the management of our global economy, you cannot live in the modern world without interacting with, or being impacted by, artificial intelligence and robots. But how did this happen? And what does it mean for our lives now and in the future? Is it helping to change our world for the better or creating new problems? 10 Short Lessons in Artificial Intelligence & Robotics examines these key questions and more
in this essential guide to the twenty-first century’s most powerful technology.  




A Pocket Einstein title.

Publisher: Mombooks

"The best, clearest, and most readable short guide to this vital area. You'll find out where we are now, how we got here, and even where we might be going.

- Owen Holland, Professor of Cognitive Robotics, University of Sussex

Artificial Intelligence in Byte-sized Chunks

by Peter J Bentley.



Artificial intelligence is never far from the headlines. But when did we start trying to mimic the human brain with technology? What are the current capabilities of AI – and what could they be in the future?

From 1948’s chess-playing Turochamp to today’s ChatGPT and Google Gemini, Artificial Intelligence in Byte-sized Chunks takes you on a journey through this remarkable field. Focussing on the scientists and the AIs that have played their part in the ups and downs of smart technology since the 1950s, expert Peter J. Bentley reveals how human ingenuity and our desire for smart machines has led us to a world in which technology is not challenging our ideas about creativity abd authenticity.

A Bite-sized Chunks title. Publisher: Mombooks

"Peter Bentley is a brilliant AI researcher ... easy-flowing narrative, interesting anecdotes and curiosities … difficult to put it down.." 

- Dario Floreano

"Peter Bentley is a true expert … lucid, balanced and engaging." 

- Steven Pinker