BIOGRAPHY

Short bio: Dean Radin MS PhD is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and Associated Distinguished Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He earned a BS (electrical engineering, magna cum laude with honors in physics), and then an MS (electrical engineering) and a PhD (psychology) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before joining the IONS research staff in 2001, Radin worked at AT&T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He has given over 600 talks and interviews worldwide, and he is author or coauthor of over 300 scientific and popular articles, four dozen book chapters and Forewords, two technical books, and four popular books translated into 15 foreign languages: The Conscious Universe (1997, HarperCollins), Entangled Minds (2006, Simon & Schuster), Supernormal (2013, RandomHouse), and Real Magic (2018, PenguinRandomHouse).  

Longer bio: ​Dean Radin MS PhD is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS), Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), Honorary Distinguished Professor at the Swami Vivekananda University in Bangalore, India, and chairman of the board for the neurogenetics biotech startup, CognigenicsHis early 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 PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For a decade he worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories and later at GTE Laboratories. For nearly four decades now his research has focused on the nature and capacities of consciousness. Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, he held appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International, where he worked on a classified program investigating psychic espionage for the US government (now commonly known as StarGate).

He is author or coauthor of over 300 scientific, technical, and popular articles, four dozen book chapters, two technical books, and four popular books including the Scientific and Medical Network's 1997 book award, The Conscious Universe (HarperOne, 1997), Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006), the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award, Supernormal (Random House, 2013), and Real Magic (Penguin Random House, 2018). Entangled MindsSupernormal and Real Magic are available as paperback, e-books, and audio books. These books have been translated so far into 15 foreign languages.

His 125+ academic articles can be found in peer-reviewed journals ranging from Foundations of Physics and Physics Essays to Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Psychological Bulletin, Brain and Cognition, Psychology of Consciousness, and many others. He has served as a referee for 25 journals, including Physics Essays, PLOS One, Frontiers in Bioscience, Integrative Cancer Therapies, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, and Psychology of ConsciousnessHe was featured in a New York Times Magazine article; and he has appeared on dozens of television programs around the world. His 600+ interviews and talks have included invited presentations at Harvard (medical), Stanford (statistics), Princeton (psychology), Columbia (education), Cambridge (physics, England), Edinburgh (psychology, Scotland), The Sorbonne (parapsychology, Paris), University of Padova (physics, Italy), University of British Columbia (parapsychology, Canada), and University of Allahabad (philosophy, India).

 

His invited talks for industries have included MerckGoogle, Johnson & Johnson, and Rabobank, and his government talks have included the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Naval War College, US Army Special Operations Command, the US Naval Postgraduate School, DARPA, the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (India), the International Center for Leadership and Governance (Malaysia), and the Australian Davos Connection  (Australia).  In 2017 he was named one of the 100 most inspiring people in the world by the German magazine, OOOM, as of 2021 his filmography on IMDB lists 42 film, TV shows, and documentaries he's appeared in, and in 2021 he was designated a Visionary Leader by The Visioneers International Network.

Extended Bio

Note: I am not a therapist, nor am I a psychic or a "paranormal investigator." I am a scientist who studies psychic phenomena. If you are disturbed by psychic experiences, I recommend that you contact a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist knowledgeable about these experiences. Another resource is the Spiritual Emergence Network.

I was born on February 29th. That only comes around every 4 years, so I am looking forward to my birthday in 2036, when I'll finally be old enough to 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 and with honors in physics, from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), a masters in electrical engineering focusing on cybernetics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and then a PhD in psychology, also from UIUC. For my dissertation I developed and tested what was probably the first computer-based, artificial-intelligence-enhanced, touch-typing training system (in 1979).

For a decade after my PhD, I worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories and later at GTE Laboratories on advanced telecommunications. Projects included designing the human interfaces to national 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 humor magazine, Journal of Irreproducible Results. One of those articles later almost accidentally started World War III in a way that would have probably appealed to Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.

Throughout my formative years and first jobs, I never forgot my original interest in being jet propelled. Ultimately, I understood that 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 science fiction. As a teenager, as my interests in science and engineering grew, I discovered the literature of parapsychology and started to conduct experiments on psychic (psi for short) phenomena. In hindsight, I imagine that these interests were encouraged by growing up in an artistic family and perhaps bolstered by the mental focus inculcated by practicing the violin one or more hours every day for over two decades.

While at Bell Labs, I began to publish some of my psi experiments. Then I discovered the Parapsychological Association and later the Society for Scientific Explorationand I presented my work at their annual meetings. I was delighted to find scientists who were as interested in these phenomena as I was, and the contacts I made eventually led to appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, and in Silicon Valley at Interval Research Corporation and SRI International. At the latter facility, I was a scientist on a secret US government program conducting research on psychic phenomena.

In 2001, I joined the staff at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). I've also given occasional lectures for the Psychology Department at Sonoma State University (Rohnert Park, California), and I've served on doctoral dissertation committees at Saybrook University and the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS) where, starting in 2015, I became Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology. In 2020, I also became an Honorary Distinguished Professor at the Swami Vivekananda University in Bangalore, India.

I've been on the science staff at IONS now for 20 years, and I've spent the majority of my professional career doing what the 4-year-old Dean described as being jet propelled -- scientifically probing the far reaches of inner space, consciousness, and psychic phenomena. Very few scientists are actively 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 are fascinated with psi, and national surveys we've conducted show that over 90% of scientists and engineers have personally experienced one or more of these phenomena. But science, like any social enterprise, has strictly enforced rules of what is acceptable to talk about openly. Thus, despite the aspirations of academic freedom, the reality is that it's not safe for one's academic or scientific career to admit an interest in controversial topics (in any domain, not just psi).

In my case, the controversy is reflected in the distorted way that Wikipedia covers the topic of psi and the biographical entries of scientists who study it. While many Wikipedia entries are useful, the articles on psi are written by anonymous vandals who promote an exclusively negative view of parapsychology. Attempts to edit the supposedly "anyone can edit" encyclopedia to improve its accuracy are blocked via use of an impenetrable labyrinth of bureaucratic rules. For a far more accurate assessment of parapsychology, as well as a third-party biography of me, see this site.

For example, a page on Wikipedia that is supposedly my bio (written by unknown persons) implies that no "real" scientists accept the results of my work. That article fails to mention scientists from many disciplines who have openly endorsed my research, including two Nobel Laureates. Nor does it mention that in 2018 I was one of 35 invited speakers at an international science conference sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Merck, of Darmstadt, Germany, which included 5 Nobel Laureates and other prominent scientists. I am also a member of the jury for Merck's 1 million Euro annual biomedical prize. Other members of that jury hail from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Princeton, Oxford, UC Berkeley, Cornell, etc. Thus, my focus on psi research, while more controversial than some other topics, is indeed accepted as legitimate by leading scientific, academic, and business entities.

That same Wikipedia page also provides a distorted account of my first popular book, The Conscious Universe, which was reviewed in the journal Nature (I should note that books on psi phenomena are hardly ever mentioned, to say nothing of reviewed, in Nature). That review contained two serious errors, leaving readers with the false impression that the book was flawed and that I was responsible for the mistakes. In fact, both of the errors were made by the reviewer, not by me. Fortunately, when Nature was informed about those lapses it published a correction (9 months later, but of course no one pays attention to retractions).

My interest in psi phenomena was not motivated by personal experiences. Instead, it was sparked by curiosity and an intuitive sense that the mind is far more mysterious and powerful than we're taught. Over many years of study and experimentation, I have come to appreciate that psi experiences are not just weird anomalies. They're responsible for most of the greatest inventions, artistic and scientific achievements, creative insights, and religious epiphanies throughout history. Understanding this realm of human experience is thus more than of academic interest -- it touches on 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 far frontiers of science, and I am comfortable tolerating the ambiguity of not knowing the "right answer," which is a constant companion at the edges of the known.

After exploring these phenomena through the lens of science for four decades now, conducting and publishing dozens of controlled experiments, reading the relevant (and extensive) scientific literature, and working at or visiting many of the active psi laboratories around the world, I've concluded that some psychic abilities are genuine. This means there are important assumptions within the prevailing scientific worldview that are incomplete or wrong. I've also learned that most people who confidently claim to have perfectly reliable psychic abilities are mistaken, sometimes innocently and sometimes fraudulently.

There is always room for constructive scholarly debate about these topics, and I know informed scientists whom I respect who hold different opinions and interpretations. But I've also learned that hardcore skeptics who claim that psi phenomena are impossible are either willfully ignorant of the relevant data, or they believe that theoretical ideas trump empirical data (which is an anti-scientific, faith-based position, given that scientific theories are always provisional and are regularly revised)

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 presentations to popular, scientific, business, military and government organizations around the world. Some of those activities are listed on this website. I've been interviewed by all of the major broadcast channels in the US, many of the cable channels, and increasingly for streaming services. As of July 2021, I've participated in  some 42 TV and film documentaries, and I've been a consultant for several feature films with psi-oriented themes. I've lost count of the number of radio programs and podcasts I've been on, but it's in the hundreds.

Last edited September 2021