George FR Ellis is Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and previous Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics. His professional research work includes relativity theory and cosmology, complexity studies, the functioning of the brain and science policy. His academic positions have included being a university lecturer at Cambridge University and visiting professor at the University of Texas, University of Chicago, University of Hamburg, Boston University, University of Alberta, University of London (Queen Mary) and International School of Advanced Studies (SISA), Trieste. He is a past president of the International Society of Relativity and Gravitation and of the Royal Society of South Africa, and is a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Science and of the Royal Society (London). He has been awarded the Star of South Africa Medal by President Nelson Mandela, the Order of Mapungubwe by President Thabo Mbeki, and the Templeton Prize (2004). His books include The large scale structure of space time with Stephen Hawking and On the moral nature of the universe with Nancey Murphy. He joined the Religious Society of Friends in 1974, and has been Chairman of Quaker Service, Western Cape, and of the Quaker Peace Centre Board. He has been Clerk of the Cape Western Monthly Meeting (CWMM) and of Southern African Yearly Meeting (1986-8).