Short bio: Dean Radin (pronounced Ray' din), PhD, is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Distinguished Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He earned an MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, Radin held appointments at AT&T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He has given over 500 talks and interviews worldwide, and he is author or coauthor of hundreds of scientific and popular articles, four dozen book chapters, two technical books, and four popular books translated into 15 foreign languages: The Conscious Universe (1997), Entangled Minds (2006), Supernormal (2013), and Real Magic (2018).
Longer bio: Dean Radin, PhD, is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS) and Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). His original career track as a concert violinist shifted into science after earning a BSEE degree in electrical engineering (magna cum laude and with honors in physics) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then a Masters in electrical engineering and PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For a decade he worked on advanced R&D at AT&T Bell Laboratories and GTE Laboratories. For over three decades he has been engaged in research on the frontiers of consciousness. Before joining the research staff at IONS in 2001, he held appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International (formerly known as Stanford [University] Research Institute).
He is author or coauthor of over 250 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 Minds, Supernormal and Real Magic are available as paperback, e-books, and audio books. These books have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Latvian, Turkish, Czech, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic.
His 100+ academic articles appear in peer-reviewed scientific journals ranging from Foundations of Physics and Physics Essays to Psychological Bulletin, Psychology of Consciousness, and Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. He was featured in a New York Times Magazine feature article; and he has appeared on dozens of television programs around the world. His 500+ interviews and talks have included presentations at Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Cambridge (England), Edinburgh (Scotland), The Sorbonne (Paris), University of Padova (Italy), and University of Allahabad (India) . His invited talks for industries have included Merck, Google, Johnson & Johnson, and Rabobank, and his government talks have included the US Navy and US Army, the 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, and as of 2018 his filmography on IMDB lists 18 documentaries he's appeared in.
Note: I am not a therapist, nor am I a psychic or paranormal investigator. I am a scientist who studies psychic phenomena. If you are disturbed by psychic experiences, I recommend that you contact a 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 21st 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 may have been 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 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 lots of science fiction. Around age 12, as my interests in science and engineering grew, I started conducting experiments on psychic (or "psi") phenomena. In hindsight, I think these interests were probably encouraged by growing up in an artistic family and bolstered by the mental focus inculcated by practicing the violin every day from age 5 to about 25.
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 Exploration, and I presented 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 appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, Interval Research Corporation, and SRI International. At the latter facility, I was a scientist on a top secret US government project conducting research on psychic phenomena.
In 2001, I joined the staff at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Since then I've occasionally held a volunteer faculty position in the Psychology Department at Sonoma State University, and I've served on dissertation committees at Saybrook University and at the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS) where, starting in 2015, I became an Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology.
I am now Chief Scientist at IONS, 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 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, and national surveys we've conducted show that over 90% of scientists and engineers have personally experienced one or more psi phenomena. 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, the reality is that it's not safe for one's scientific career to publicly pursue controversial topics (in any domain, not just psi).
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. While many Wikipedia articles are useful, articles on psi are written by anonymous vandals who present an exclusively skeptical view of parapsychology. Attempts to edit that supposedly "anyone can edit" encyclopedia to improve the accuracy are blocked via use of an impenetrable labyrinth of bureaucratic rules. For a more accurate third-party biography, see this webpage.
For example, my bio page on Wikipedia fails to mention any of the scientists who have endorsed my work, including two Nobel Laureates. Nor does it mention that in 2018 I was one of 35 invited speakers at a major international science conference sponsored by Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, which included 5 Nobel Laureates and other prominent mainstream scientists.
That bio page also provides a highly distorted account of my first popular book, The Conscious Universe, which was reviewed in Nature. That review contained two serious errors, leaving the reader with the false impression that I was responsible for the mistakes. In fact, both of them were due to the reviewer, and Nature did eventually publish a correction (but no one pays attention to retractions).
My interest in psi phenomena was not motivated by having psi experiences. It was instead sparked out of an 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 not just curiosities. They're 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 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 examining these phenomena through the lens of science for over 40 years, I've concluded that some psychic abilities are genuine. This means there are important assumptions within the prevailing scientific worldview that are seriously incomplete. I've also learned that most people who confidently (and often loudly) claim to have 100% reliable psychic abilities are mistaken, sometimes innocently and sometimes fraudulently. Spontaneous psi effects can be startling and in some cases transformative, but hardly any form of human conscious behavior is 100% reliable, especially subtle consciousness-related effects like psi.
There are also, of course, reprehensible con artists masquerading as psychics and charging huge sums for their services. These classes of so-called psychics are easy targets for skeptics, who wrongly assume they are representative of everyone who claims psychic abilities. There is a huge anecdotal literature about psychic phenomena, but the evidence that convinced me was not only the results of my own experimental studies, but analyses 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, or worse, that these phenomena are impossible, don't know what they're talking about. In addition, the hysterical rants about psi phenomena that one finds in online skeptical forums appear to be motivated by fundamentalist beliefs of the scientistic or religious kind. Regarding religion, I am agnostic and religion has played no part in my life. I've maintained a meditation practice for many years for the same reason that I exercise -- the mental and physical health benefits are obvious.
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. Regarding television, I've been interviewed by programs on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, BBC, Discovery, History, The Learning Channel, NHK (Japan), and on once-popular shows such as Oprah and Larry King Live. I've participated in over a dozen indie film and video documentaries including What the Bleep, I Am, and Intution:PGS, and I've consulted on several feature films. I've lost count of the number of radio programs and podcasts I've done, but it's somewhere over three hundred.
Last edited June 2019