Born in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, England. Educated at Newark Preparatory School, Ranby House School and Worksop College (Music Exhibitioner and Science Scholar).
Major Open Scholar at Clare College, Cambridge. Read Natural Sciences (Pt 1, Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry and Physiology; Pt 2, Biochemistry). Double First Class Honours B.A. 1963. Awarded the University Botany Prize and the Clare College Greene Cup for General Learning.
Frank Knox Fellow in the Graduate School at Harvard University. Studied philosophy and history of science.
Research student in Dept of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge. Ph.D. Thesis on "The Production of Hormones in Higher Plants".
Cambridge University Sir Henry Strakosh Travelling Fellow in Southern Africa.
M.A., Cambridge, Ph.D. Cambridge
Research Fellow and later Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Director of Studies in Biochemistry and Cell Biology.
Royal Society Leverhulme Studentship at the University of Malaya. Research on morphogenesis in tropical ferns, and on the physiology of latex flow in rubber trees (in conjunction with the Rubber Research Institute of Malaya).
Royal Society Rosenheim Research Fellow. Research in Department of Biochemistry at Cambridge on the production and polar transport of the hormone auxin in higher plants, and on the control of plant differentiation and development. Also worked on the nature of ageing in plants and animals, and developed a new approach to the questions of senescence and rejuvenation.
British Council Visiting Scientist in Germany.
Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India. Head of the Legume Physiology Programme (with 36 scientific and technical staff). Carried out an extensive research programme at the Institute's research farm and at other field stations in India and the Middle East. Developed a new double-cropping system with pigeonpeas, now widely used by farmers and contributing to increased food production.
Lived in the Benedictine ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths in Tamil Nadu, South India, and wrote A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation, published by Blond and Briggs, London, 1981. Translations published in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
Consultant Plant Physiologist, ICRISAT, Hyderabad.
Research on morphogenesis, heredity, animal behaviour, psychology, and unexplained phenomena like telepathy, the sense of being stared at, premonitions and the sense of direction. Lectures, seminars and workshops at universities, scientific institutes, schools and adult education centres in Britain and overseas (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland).
Addressed the US Congressional Clearing House on the Future on new approaches to biology.
Visiting Professor at John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, California
British representative at the UNESCO Colloquium in Venice on "Science and the Boundaries of Knowledge". Co-signatory of the Venice Declaration.
Visiting Professor at Universities of Colorado and Vermont
Publication of The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature (Collins, London; Times Books, New York). Translated into French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, San Francisco, California.
Publication of The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God (Century, London; Bantam, New York). Translated into Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
British Council visiting scientist at the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand.
Scholar in Residence, Schumacher College, Dartington, Devon.
Course leader, Temenos Academy, London.
1993 & 1994
Keynote lecturer in Dutch National Science Week, at the Universities of Amsterdam, Enschede, Groningen, Nijmegen, Rotterdam and Utrecht.
Publication of Seven Experiments that Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science (Fourth Estate, London; Riverhead/Putnam, New York). Book of the Year Award from the British Institute for Social Inventions. Translated into Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. New edition 2002.
Received the 1995 Medal of Honour at the annual "Science-Frontières" Festival in Cavaillon, France.
Publication of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals. (Hutchinson, London; Crown, New York). This book won the British Scientific and Medical Network Book of the Year Award for 1999. Translated into Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. A bestseller in Britain, Austria, Germany and the USA. New edition, 2011.
H. Burr Steinbach scholar in residence at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
Leader of a course on animal behaviour at Schumacher College, together with Jane Goodall,.
Publication of The Sense of Being Stared At , And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (Hutchinson, London; Crown, New York). Translated in Dutch, French German, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. New edition, 2013.
Visiting Professor and Academic Director of the Holistic Thinking Program at the Graduate Institute, Connecticut, USA
Visiting Professor of Evolutionary Science at the Wisdom University, Oakland, California
Perrott-Warrick Senior Researcher, appointed and funded by Trinity College, Cambridge
Publication of The Science Delusion (UK)/ Science Set Free (US). This book won the British Scientific and Medical Network Book of the Year Award for 2012. Translated into Arabic, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.
Fellow of Schumacher College. Nominated as one of the top 100 Global Thought Leaders for 2013, by the Duttweiler Institute, Zurich, Switzerland's leading think tank.
Received the Doshi Bridgebuilder Award at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.
Awarded the Lucia Torri Cianci prize, in Venice, Italy, for innovative thinking.
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; Fellow of the Zoological Society; Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society; Member of the Society for Experimental Biology; Member of the Society for Scientific Exploration; Member of the Scientific and Medical Network; Member of the Society for Psychical Research; Member of the Parapsychological Association; Member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation (Blond and Briggs, London, 1981; Tarcher, Los Angeles, 1982; new edition, 2009, Icon Books)
The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature (Collins, London, 1988; Times Books, New York; new edition, 2012, Icon Books)
The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God (Century, London,1992; Bantam, New York)
Seven Experiments that Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science (Fourth Estate, London, 1994; Riverside/Putnams, New York, 1995; new edition, 2002, Inner Traditions International)
Dogs that Know When Their Owners are Coming Home, and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals (Hutchinson, London, 1999; Crown, New York; new edition, 2011, Random House, New York)
The Sense of Being Stared At, And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (Hutchinson, London, 2003; Crown, New York; new edition, 2013, Inner Traditions International)
The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2012; published in the US as Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery, Random House, 2012)
Science and Spiritual Practices: Transformative experiences and their effects on our bodies, brains and health (Coronet; 01 edition, 2017)
With Matthew Fox
Natural Grace: Dialogues on Science and Spirituality (Bloomsbury, London, 1996; Doubleday, New York)
The Physics of Angels (Harper San Francisco, 1996)
With Ralph Abraham and Terence McKenna
Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness (Inner Traditions International, 2001)
The Evolutionary Mind (Monkfish Publishing, 2005)
With Kate Banks
Boy’s Best Friend (Farrar, Strauss, Giroud, New York, 2015)
With Michael Shermer
Arguing Science (Monkfish Book Publishing, 2016)
Papers and Articles
In addition to the books above, more than 85 scientific and technical papers (listed below) and numerous non-technical articles in New Scientist, The Spectator, Resurgence, The Ecologist, The Guardian , The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph and in other British and foreign journals, newspapers and magazines.
Numerous radio broadcasts on BBC Science Now, BBC World Service Discovery and Science in Action, and other BBC science programmes; also on many other radio stations, both national and local, in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
Participated in a variety of television programmes in Britain, including BBC1 Tomorrow's World, and a feature in the BBC2 Heretics series in 1994. Also many TV programmes abroad, in Austria, Australia, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. In 1993, on Dutch Television (VPRO TV Hilversum) one of the participants in a record-breaking scientific series called A Glorious Accident (together with the philosopher Daniel Dennett, the physicist Freeman Dyson, the biologist Steven Jay Gould, the neurologist Oliver Sacks and the philosopher Stephen Toulmin), broadcast on the PBS network in the USA. Also participated in numerous programmes on BBC TV and ITV in Britain, on ABC, CBS, Discovery Channel, and other networks in the USA, on CNN, on CBC TV in Canada, etc.
In 2018 the website received an average of 1,250,000 hits per month, with around 42,000 unique visitors per month.
As of August 2018 the channel has over 12 thousand subscribers and its videos a cumulative 8 years, 113 days of watch time.
He lives in London with his wife Jill Purce. They have two sons, Merlin, who received his PhD at Cambridge University in 2016 for his work in tropical ecology at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and Cosmo, a musician.
Scientific and Technical Publications
Production of auxin by detached leaves. Nature 217, 195.
The production of auxin by autolysing tissues. Planta 80, 227-236.
The production of auxin by tobacco internode tissues. New Phytologist 67, 1-13.
Some constituents of xylem sap and their possible relationship to xylem differentiation. Journal of Experimental Botany 19, 681- 9. (The above four papers with D.H. Northcote)
Cellulase in latex and its possible significance in cell differentiation. Planta, 89, 82-4.
Cellulase and cell differentiation in Acer pseudoplatanus. Planta 95, 167-78.
A cellulase in Hevea latex. Physiologia Plantarum 23, 267-77 (with G.F.J. Moir).
Auxin in the cambium and its differentiating derivatives. Journal of Experimental Botany 24, 87-96.
The occurrence and significance of auxin in the substrata of bryophytes. New Phytologist 70, 519-26.
Polar auxin transport in the leaves of monocotyledons. Nature 238, 352-3.
Auxin transport in secondary tissues. Journal of Experimental Botany 24, 87-96.
Do coleoptile tips produce auxin? New Phytologist 72, 433-7.
The production of hormones in higher plants. Biological Reviews 48, 509-59.
Effect of pH and surface charge on cell uptake of auxin. Nature New Biology 244, 285-88 (with P. Rubery).
Ageing, growth and death. Theoria to Theory 7, 31-38.
Carrier-mediated auxin transport. Planta 118, 101-21 (with P. Rubery).
The polarity of auxin transport in inverted cuttings. New Phytologist 73, 637-42.
Family planning. Nature 250, 180
The ageing, growth and death of cells. Nature 250, 381-5.
Some effects of the physiological state of pigeonpeas on the wilt disease. Tropical Grain Legumes Bulletin 11, 24-25 (with A. Narayanan and J. Kannaiyan)
The expression and influence on yield of the 'double-podded' character in chickpea. Field Crops Research 1, 243-54 (with N.P. Saxena and L. Krishnamurthy).
Comparison of earlier- and later-formed pods of chickpea. Annals of Botany 43, 467-74 (with N.P. Saxena).
Growth and development of chickpeas under progressive moisture stress. In: Stress Physiology in Crop Plants (ed H. Mussell and R.C. Staples), pp.465-83. Wiley Interscience, New York (with N.P. Saxena).
Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan ) as a winter crop in peninsular India. Experimental Agriculture 15, 91-95 (with A. Narayanan).
Growth, development and nutrient uptake in pigeonpea. Journal of Agricultural Science 92, 513-26 (with A. Narayanan).
Comparison of earlier- and later-formed pods in pigeonpea. Annals of Botany 43, 459-66 (with A. Narayanan).
The effects of flower removal on the seed yield of pigeonpeas. Annals of Applied Biology 91,383-90 (with A. Narayanan and N. Venkataratnam).
A hydrodynamical model of pod-set in pigeonpeas. Indian Journal of Plant Physiology 22, 137-43.
Effects of osmotic stress on polar auxin transport in Avena mesocotyl sections. Planta 145, 113-7.
Three approaches to biology: I The mechanistic theory of life. Theoria to Theory 14, 125-144.
Three approaches to biology: II Vitalism. Theoria to Theory 14, 227-240.
The Anatomy of the Pigeonpea. ICRISAT Monograph Series, Hyderabad (with S.S. Bisen).
Physiology of growth, development and yield of chickpeas in India. Proceedings of International Workshop on Chickpea Improvement, 106-20. ICRISAT Publications, Hyderabad (with N.P. Saxena).
Effects of seed grading on the yields of chickpeas and pigeonpea. Indian Journal of Agricultural Science 51, 389-93 (with N.P. Saxena and A. Narayanan).
Effects of pod exposure on the yield of chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) Field Crops Research 3, 189-191 (with N.P. Saxena)
Iron chlorosis in chickpea (Cicer arietinum) grown on high pH calcareous vertisol. Field Crops Research 3, 211-214 ()
Three approaches to biology: III Organicism. Theoria to Theory 14, 301-311.
Varietal differences in seed size and seedling growth of pigeonpea and chickpea. Indian Journal of Agricultural Science 51, 389-93 (with N.P. Saxena).
Pigeonpea Physiology. In: The Physiology of Tropical Crops (ed. P.H. Goldsworthy). Blackwell, Oxford.
Factors affecting growth and yield of short-duration pigeonpea and its potential for multiple harvests. Journal of Agricultural Science 109, 519-29 (with Y.S. Chauhan and N. Venkataratnam).
Effect of harvest methods on the second-flush yield of short-duration pigeonpea. Journal of Agricultural Science 109, 591-3 (ditto).
A perennial cropping system from pigeonpea grown in post-rainy season. Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 57, 895-9 (ditto)
Cattle fooled by phoney grids. New Scientist Feb 11, 65.
An experimental test of the hypothesis of formative causation. Biology Forum 85, 431-443.
Psychic pets: A survey in North-West England. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 61, 353-364 (with P. Smart)
A dog that seems to know when his owner is returning: preliminary investigations. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 62, 220-232 (with P. Smart)
The sense of being stared at: experiments in schools. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 62, 311-323
Perceptive pets: a survey in London. Biology Forum 91, 57-74 (with C. Lawlor and J. Turney)
Perceptive pets: a survey in North-West California. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 62, 396-406 (with D. J. Brown)
Perceptive pets with puzzling powers: three surveys. International Society for Anthrozoology Newsletter 15, 2-5.
Experimenter effects in scientific research: How widely are they neglected? Journal of Scientific Exploration 12, 73-78.
Could experimenter effects occur in the physical and biological sciences? Skeptical Inquirer May/June, 57-58.
The 'sense of being stared at' confirmed by simple experiments. Biology Forum 92, 53-76.
How widely is blind assessment used in scientific research? Alternative Therapies 5 (3), 88-91
Commentary on a paper by Wiseman, Smith and Milton on the 'psychic pet' phenomenon. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 63: 306-311.
The 'sense of being stared at' does not depend on known sensory clues. Biology Forum 93,, 209-224.
A dog that seems to know when his owner is coming home: videotaped experiments and observations. Journal of Scientific Exploration 14: 233-255. (with P. Smart)
The 'psychic pet' phenomenon. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 64: 126-128.
Research on the feeling of being stared at. Skeptical Inquirer March/April, 58-61.
Telepathic telephone calls: two surveys. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 64, 224-232
Testing a return-anticipating dog, Kane. Anthrozoos 13, 203-212. (with P. Smart)
The anticipation of telephone calls: a survey in California. Journal of Parapsychology 65, 145-156.
Experiments on the sense of being stared at: the elimination of possible artefacts. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 65, 122-137.
Apparent telepathy between babies and nursing mothers: A survey. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 66, 181-185.
Experimental tests for telephone telepathy. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 67,184-199 (with P. Smart)
Videotaped experiments on telephone telepathy. Journal of Parapsychology 67, 187-206 (with P. Smart)
Testing a language-using parrot for telepathy. Journal of Scientific Exploration 17, 601-615 (with Aimee Morgana).
A Filmed Experiment on Telephone Telepathy with the Nolan Sisters . Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 68, 168-172 (with Hugo Godwin and Simon Rockell)
Investigaciones Experimentales En Telepatía Por Teléfono Revista Argentina de Psicología Paranormal 15, 209-230.
Testing for telepathy in connection with emails. Perceptual and Motor Skills 101, 771-786.
The sense of being stared at: Part 1: Is it real or illusory? Journal of Consciousness Studies 12, 10-31.
The sense of being stared at: Part 2: Its implications for theories of vision. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12, 32-49.
The non-visual detection of staring: Response to commentators. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12, 117-126.
An automated online telepathy test. Journal of Scientific Exploration 21, 511-522. (with M. Lambert)
Investigating scopaesthesia: Attentional transitions, controls, and error rates in repeated tests. Journal of Scientific Exploration 22, 517-527.
The sense of being stared at: an automated test on the internet. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 72, 86-97.
The sense of being stared at: do hit rates improve as tests go on? Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 72, 98-106.
Sensing the sending of SMS messages: an automated test. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 5, 272-276. (with L. Avraamides and M. Novak)
A rapid online telepathy test. Psychological Reports 104, 957-970 (with A. Beeharee)
An automated test for telepathy in connection with emails. Journal of Scientific Exploration 23, 29–36 (with L. Avraamides)
Telepathy in Connection with Telephone Calls, Text Messages and Emails. Journal of International Society of Life Information Science (2014), 32 No. 1, 7-15
Automated Tests for Telephone Telepathy Using Mobile Phones. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing (2015), 11 No. 4, 310-319 (with P. Smart and L. Avraamides)
Linking Minds Through Joint Attention: A Preliminary Investigation. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (2015) 79 No. 4: 193-200
Is Joint Attention Detectable at a Distance? Three Automated, Internet-Based Tests. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing (2016) 12 No.1: 34-41 (with Ashweeni Beeharee)
Determinants of Faraday Wave-Patterns in Water Samples Oscillated Vertically at a Range of Frequencies from 50-200 Hz Water Journal (2017) No 6. DOI: 10.14294/WATER.2017.6 (with Merlin Sheldrake).