I thank Stéphane Allix for taking the above photo.
Ultra Short Bio: Dean, Chief Scientist, IONS.
Very Short Bio: Dean Radin, PhD, is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, he held appointments at AT&T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He is author or coauthor of over 250 technical and popular articles, three dozen book chapters, and three books including the award-winning The Conscious Universe (HarperOne, 1997), Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006), and the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award winner, Supernormal (Random House, 2013).
Short Bio: Dean Radin, PhD, is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). He occasionally gives lectures in the Department of Psychology at Sonoma State University and has served on doctoral dissertation committees at Saybrook University and CIIS. His original career track as a concert violinist shifted into science after earning a BSEE degree in electrical engineering, magna cum laude with honors in physics, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then an MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For a decade he worked on advanced telecommunications R&D at AT&T Bell Laboratories and GTE Laboratories. For three decades he has been engaged in frontiers research on the nature of consciousness. Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, he held appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, Interval Research Corporation, and SRI International.
He is author or coauthor of over 250 scientific and popular articles (some 80+ in peer-reviewed journals), three dozen book chapters, and three popular books including the award-winning and bestselling The Conscious Universe (HarperOne, 1997), Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006), and a 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award, Supernormal (Random House, 2013). These books have been translated into 14 foreign languages, so far. His technical articles have appeared in journals including Foundations of Physics and Physics Essays to Psychological Bulletin and Journal of Consciousness Studies; he was featured in a New York Times Magazine article; and he has appeared on dozens of television shows ranging from the BBC’s Horizon and PBS's Closer to Truth to Oprah and Larry King Live. He has given over 400 interviews and talks, including presentations at Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Princeton, Virginia Tech, the Sorbonne, the University of British Columbia, for industries including Google, Johnson & Johnson, Rabobank, and for various government organizations including the US Navy, DARPA, and the National Academy of Sciences.
In 2010, he spent a month lecturing in India as the National Visiting Professor of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, a program sponsored by India's Ministry of Human Resource Development. In 2013 and 2014, he gave invited lectures in Kuala Lumpur at the International Center for Leadership and Governance, an organization supported by the Central Bank of Malaysia. In 2015 he spoke at the Australian Leadership Retreat, a confidential program of briefings and discussions for Australian government, business, education, and military leaders.
Extended Bio: I was born on February 29th. For my 13th birthday celebration I rented a roller skating rink for an evening, invited all my friends, and we ate hot dogs, cup cakes, and shared a Spiderman-themed birthday cake. I am looking forward to my 21st birthday in 2036, when I can finally buy a beer.
My first career interest, at chronological age 4, was to be "jet propelled." It took many years before I could better articulate what I meant by that, but that's how I responded when adults asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. My next career interest was the classical violin, which I started at age 5 and continued to play for the next 20 years, the last five as a professional. Then I switched to fiddle and 5-string banjo and played in bluegrass bands for a number of years. Between gigs, I pursued other interests and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, magna cum laude with senior honors in physics, from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), a masters in electrical engineering focusing on cybernetics and control systems from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and then a PhD in psychology, also from UIUC. For my dissertation I developed and tested what may have been the first computer-based, artificial-intelligence enhanced, touch typing training system.
For a decade after my PhD I worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories and later at GTE Laboratories on advanced telecommunications R&D. Projects included designing the human interfaces to network operations centers in the US and Japan, developing a rapid prototyping system for complex human-computer interfaces (before there were personal computers), and studying ways of enhancing brainstorming and creativity in industry. While at Bell Labs, for fun I wrote a series of humorous articles for the science spoof magazine, Journal of Irreproducible Results. One of those articles later almost accidentally started World War III in a way that would have appealed to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
Throughout my formative years and first jobs, I never forgot my original interest in being jet propelled. In retrospect, I think what I was trying to express as a child was an overriding fascination about the outer limits of inner space -- the depths and capacities of the human mind. As a pre-teen I read everything I could find on mythology, fairy tales, folklore, eastern philosophy, western psychology, and lots of science fiction. Around age 12, as my interests in science and engineering grew, I started to conduct experiments on hypnosis and psychic (or "psi") phenomena. In hindsight, I think these interests were probably encouraged by growing up in an artistic family and bolstered by practicing the violin hours a day for many years.
While at Bell Labs I started to publish some of my psi experiments. Then I discovered the Parapsychological Association and the Society for Scientific Exploration and I began to present my work at their annual meetings. I was delighted to find groups of scientists who were as interested in these phenomena as I was, and the contacts I made eventually led to my gaining appointments to conduct psi research at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, Interval Research Corporation, and SRI International, which at the time was conducting classifed research on psychic phenomena for the US government. In 2001 I joined the staff at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). I have also held a volunteer faculty position in the Psychology Department at Sonoma State University and have served on dissertation committees at Saybrook University and at the California Institute for Integral Studies.
I am now Chief Scientist at IONS and Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (an accredited university), and I've spent the majority of my professional career doing what the 4 year old Dean described as being jet propelled -- probing the far reaches of human consciousness, principally psi phenomena, using the tools and techniques of science. Very few scientists are publicly engaged in research on this perennially interesting topic. This is not because of a lack of interest, as skeptics sometimes suggest. The vast majority of scientists I've spoken to are fascinated with psi, but science, like any social enterprise, has strictly enforced rules of what is and is not acceptable to talk about. Despite the aspirations of academic freedom, it is not safe for one's scientific career to publicly pursue controversial topics. In my case the controversy is reflected in the way that Wikipedia covers the topic of psi and the biographical entries of scientists who study it. Those pages have been hijacked by anonymous vandals who apparently have nothing better to do than to rewrite history by only allowing a one-sided, exclusively skeptical view of parapsychology.
For example, my Wikipedia bio page does not mention any of the scientists who have expressed interest in my work, including two Nobel Laureates (Brian Josephson & Kary Mullis). Nor does it mention the whole story about my first book, The Conscious Universe, which was reviewed in the top science journal in the world (Nature). Unfortunately, the Nature review included two serious mistakes, leaving the reader with the impression that I had made the mistakes, and thus implying that everything else in my book was probably also a mistake. In fact, both of the errors were due to the reviewer's incorrect assumptions. Some nine months later Nature finally published a correction, but by then hardly anyone noticed. Ironically, I. J. Good, the reviewer of my book, had proposed a type of EEG-based precognition experiment in 1961 that he would have found convincing, provided that it was successful. We implemented his recommended study in 2007, then repeated it 2010, and in fact the experiment did work both times.
Some hardcore skeptics claim that the results of experimental psi research are so rife with fraud that none of it can be believed. The claim is highly exaggerated. It confuses con artists who pretend to be psychic with scientists who study psi. The confusion is tantamount to assuming that a professor of criminal justice is the same thing as a criminal. The fact is that there is one proven case of experimenter fraud in the entire history of psi research, a few suspected cases, and a handful of unproven rumors. It is undeniable that fraud occasionally occurs in science, but it is usually driven by social or financial pressures. It is also rare, and it is especially rare in psi research where the social pressure strongly urges academics to conform to an acceptable (meaning dismissive) norm. That means it is perfectly fine to publish experiments reporting null results, but dangerous for one's academic career to publish positive results. This is a pity given that most academics are just as interested in this topic as anyone else. In private, I've heard scientists and scholars describe their own psychic experiences with the same awed expressions that non-academics adopt when relating these tales. In public, academics quickly learn to not talk about their experiences.
Perhaps because of my unusual choice of profession, and the risk that that choice entails, I was featured in a New York Times Magazine article in 1996, and I am regularly invited to give interviews and talks for popular, scientific, business and government organizations around the world. Some of those activities are listed on this website.
My interest in psi was originally motivated out of a child's intuitive sense that the mind is far more mysterious and powerful than we know. Through education and experience I've also come to appreciate that these experiences are also responsible for most of the greatest inventions, artistic and scientific achievements, creative insights, and religious epiphanies throughout history. Understanding this realm of human experience thus offers more than mere academic interest -- it touches upon the very best that the human intellect and spirit have had to offer. I discovered while working on these topics that I enjoy the challenge of exploring the frontiers of science, and that I am comfortable tolerating the ambiguity of not knowing the "right answer," which is a constant companion at the frontier.
After studying these phenomena through the lens of science for about 40 years, I've concluded that some psychic abilities are genuine, and as such, there are important aspects of the prevailing scientific worldview that are seriously incomplete. I've also learned that most people who claim to have perfectly reliable psychic abilities are either delusional or mentally ill, and that there will always be reprehensible con artists who claim to be psychic and charge huge sums for their services. These two classes of so-called psychics are easy targets for skeptics, who assume that anyone claiming psychic abilities must be fraudulent. This is not the case. There is of course a huge anecdotal literature about psychic abilities, but the evidence that convinced me is not only the results of my own studies, but analysis of the cumulative empirical evidence, collected by qualified scientists under well-controlled conditions, and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
There is always room for scholarly debate about these topics, and I know a number of informed scientists whom I respect who hold different opinions and interpretations. But I've also learned that those who loudly assert with great confidence that there isn't any scientifically valid evidence for psychic abilities don't know what they're talking about. In addition, the hysterical rants one finds in online skeptical forums appear to be motivated solely by fundamentalist beliefs of the scientistic or religious kind. Regarding religion, I was raised agnostically Jewish and religious beliefs have played no part in my life. I have maintained a meditation practice for many years for the same reason that I exercise -- the health benefits are obvious.
You may contact me via email as dean at noetic dot org, but due to the huge volume of emails I receive, I can't promise to reply.