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He is director of the Pari Center for New Learning, which is located in the village of Pari near Grosseto in Tuscany, Italy. He is adjunct professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies and Schumacher College, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and a Distinguished Fellow at the University of South Africa.
In 1964, Peat received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Liverpool. In 1965, he became assistant professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Subsequently, from 1967 to 1975, he worked as research scientist for the National Research Council of Canada. During this time, from 1971 to 1972, he performed a sabbatical study with David Bohm and Roger Penrose at Birkbeck College in London.
For many years he was associated with physicist and philosopher David Bohm; the two wrote the book Science, Order, and Creativity together, and Peat later wrote Bohm's biography, Infinite Potential: The Life and Times of David Bohm. In the context of this biography, Peat emphasized how Bohm had worked intensely on finding a mathematical expression for his vision of an interconnected, enfolded implicate order, from which an explicate order, the world of classical physics unfolds. Bohm also aimed at re-introducing time as a dynamic entity. According to Peat, the use of the term Bohmian mechanics for his theory "would have shocked Dave [Bohm] somewhat": what was happening with the ideas of Bohm's and Hiley's theory, similarly as what had occurred with those of Grassman, Hamilton and Clifford before, was that physicists left the fundamental ideas aside and merely made use of them as an easy manner of performing calculations.
While living in Canada, Peat organized discussion circles between Western scientists and Native American elders, together with Leroy Little Bear who later obtained the 2003 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Education. While living in London, Peat organized a conference between artists and scientists. In 1996 he moved from Canada to Pari, Italy.
In 2000, he founded the Pari Center for New Learning, a center dedicated to education, learning and research, together with writer and researcher Maureen Doolan. The activities of the Pari Center comprise residential courses and conferences and possibilities for scholars and researchers to spend extended periods as residents in Pari.
Peat has written on the subjects of science, art, and spirituality and proposed the notions of creative suspension and gentle action. He has authored or co-authored many books including Synchronicity: The Bridge between Matter and Mind, Seven Life lessons of Chaos, Turbulent Mirror, Gentle Action, and Pathways of Chance. His most recent book is A Flickering Reality: Cinema and the Nature of Reality.
A focus of Peat's recent work is the concept of Gentle Action. This approach, as envisaged by Peat, emphasizes a certain manner of action that is aimed at creating change in an effective manner. The approach calls for tolerating uncertainty yet suspending action at its onset in order to allow an over-all view to emerge. It emphasizes the value of small-scale, iterative actions compared to large, single-step interventions. In his book of the same name, published 2008, Peat points out connections of his approach to earlier concepts, emphasizing the importance of active listening and a similarity to the concept of Wu wei.
Peat's gentle action has been cited together with Otto Scharmer's Theory U and Arnold Mindell's Worldwork as approaches by which individuals, groups, organisations and communities can deal with complex issues.