he existence of unexplained natural phenomena has piqued human interest since the days we first grappled with fire. Mysteries such as the language used between animals or the vast potential of the human mind eternally attract our attention and elude our comprehension. Ironically, public interest in attempting to resolve these questions seems to be growing just at a time when science as an institution becomes increasingly reluctant to address these concerns. Persistent areas of paranormal intrigue that do not fit into conventional scientific models continue to remain largely unanswered.
Lay researchers and armchair scientists can now actively participate in the process of discovery with the help of Seven Experiments That Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. This former Research Fellow of the Royal Society at Cambridge University proposes a grassroots revolution in scientific inquiry, where amateurs everywhere can undertake for themselves the activity that is at the heart of the scientific method: the experiment.
In the spirit of Darwin, who recorded many of his observations in the simplicity of his garden and never held an institutional post, Dr. Sheldrake encourages enthusiasts of the paranormal to explore seven of the world's most enigmatic common occurrences by using simple resources of their own. The areas of study focus on phenomenon including:
1. A pet's ability to anticipate its owner's return home
2. The direction-finding instincts of homing pigeons
3. The highly organized structure of termite communities
4. Our own tendency to know when we are being stared at from behind
5. Sensations felt in phantom limbs after amputation
6. The validity of the Universal Gravitational constant as a true constant
7. The effect scientists' biases may have on experimentation
Support material, such as historical notes and anecdotal evidence, is presented in conjunction with each experiment, while tips on gathering the required materials and clear procedural directions make the research accessible to anyone. Specific data-collecting guidelines and challenging suggestions on ways to expand upon the experiments further ensure statistically valid results. Readers are encouraged by open invitation to send in the results of their work to the renowned Institute of Noetic Sciences for documentation, analysis and world-wide dissemination.
Seven Experiments That Could Change the World proposes a new relationship between professional scientists and non-scientists, the former possessing the prestige of professional credentials and the latter having the freedom to explore new areas of research. Such widespread, collective participation opens up the possibility of our being able to address these questions that still remain unanswered. It also enables us, in the process, to revolutionize our approach to the exploration of nature's unseen forces.