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Rupert Sheldrake

Biologist and Author; former Director, Perrott-Warrick Project, Cambridge

Rupert Sheldrake is an English biologist and author. He is best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance, which suggests the existence of a memory inherent in nature. He has also done research on the unexplained powers of animals and the extended mind, including phenomena like the sense of being stared at, dogs that know their owners are coming home, and telephone telepathy. He is the author of more than 80 technical papers in scientific journals covering topics such as plant development, tropical agriculture, memory, telepathy, animal behavior, and joint attention. 

Sheldrake’s publications include A New Science of Life (1981), Seven Experiments That Could Change the World (1994), Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999), The Sense of Being Stared At (2003), and The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry (2012), called Science Set Free in the United States.

Sheldrake attended Worksop College, an Anglican boarding-school, and specialized in science. He obtained a scholarship to study Biology at Clare College, Cambridge. He specialized in biochemistry, graduated with double-first-class honours, and won the University Botany Prize. He won a Frank Knox fellowship to study philosophy and history at Harvard University at around the time Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) was published, which he writes informed his view on the extent to which the mechanistic theory of life is just a paradigm. He returned to Cambridge, where he obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry.

Sheldrake became a Fellow of Clare College, where he was Director of Studies in Biochemistry and Cell biology, and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. From 1974 to 1985 he worked in Hyderabad in India as Principal Plant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. For a year and a half he lived in the ashram of Bede Griffiths, where he wrote his first book, A New Science of Life.

From September 2005 until 2010, Sheldrake received the Perrott-Warrick Scholarship for psychical research and parapsychology, which is administered by Trinity College, Cambridge. Sheldrake is a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, in Petaluma, California, a Fellow of Schumacher College, in Darlington Devon, England, and a Fellow of the Temenos Academy in London. 

Topic Series


Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: Fully Updated and Revised

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The Sense of Being Stared At: And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds

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The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry

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Seven Experiments That Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science (2nd Edition with Update on Results)

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Morphic Resonance: The Nature of Formative Causation

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