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Seven experiments that could change the world Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Riverhead Trade Pbk. Ed edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573225649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573225649
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,780,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

I consider myself an open-minded person, but I tend to become itchy and skeptical when I encounter most books about the "unexplained"--there are just too many secret Soviet laboratories, mysterious disappearances (of the phenomena, and the investigators and data for that matter). And, I must admit, I've was somewhat skeptical of Sheldrake's previous books on "morphic resonance".

But being an open-minded person, I am glad when I can change my mind, and I am glad to report that this is a worthy book--because of its practicality. Sheldrake confronts some of the outstanding questions facing "PSIence"--and proposes level-headed experiments that readers themselves can become engaged in. Science has often made its greatest advances not when areas of the unknown were summarily dismissed--but when a proper balance between paradigm shifts and experimentation fell into place. It is conceivable that books such as this may help with the evolution of PSI to science.

From Publishers Weekly

A specialist in biochemistry and cell biology formerly at Cambridge University, Sheldrake questions many tenets of the mechanistic-materialistic orthodoxy governing most science today and proposes certain practical experiments to raise further doubts about it. He presents experiments by which we can determine how some pets know when their owners are coming home, how homing pigeons find their way, how insect colonies operate, how people know that they are being stared at from behind and how phantom limbs sometimes seem to amputees to be still attached. Then he turns to the more abstract area of the philosophy of science, pointing out that the fundamental "constants" of nature are not really constant and that the so-called experimenter expectancy effect may skew the results of any test. Finally, he offers details of experiments by which even those who are not trained scientists can measure some of these possibly paranormal phenomena. A well-reasoned, accessible and provocative book. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and ten books. He was among the top 100 Global Thought Leaders for 2013, as ranked by the Duttweiler Institute, Zurich, Switzerland's leading think tank. He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize (1963). He then studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow (1963-64), before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry (1967). He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge (1967-73), where he was Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology. As the Rosenheim Research Fellow of the Royal Society (1970-73), he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells in the Department of Biochemistry at Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, together with Philip Rubery, he discovered the mechanism of polar auxin transport, the process by which the plant hormone auxin is carried from the shoots towards the roots.

From 1968 to 1969, as a Royal Society Leverhulme Scholar, based in the Botany Department of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, he studied rain forest plants. From 1974 to 1985 he was Principal Plant Physiologist and Consultant Physiologist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, where he helped develop new cropping systems now widely used by farmers. While in India, he also lived for a year and a half at the ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths in Tamil Nadu, where he wrote his first book, A New Science of Life, published in 1981 (new edition 2009).

Since 1981, he has continued research on developmental and cell biology. He has also investigated unexplained aspects of animal behaviour, including how pigeons find their way home, the telepathic abilities of dogs, cats and other animals, and the apparent abilities of animals to anticipate earthquakes and tsunamis. He subsequently studied similar phenomena in people, including the sense of being stared at, telepathy between mothers and babies, telepathy in connection with telephone calls, and premonitions. Although some of these areas overlap the field of parapsychology, he approaches them as a biologist, and bases his research on natural history and experiments under natural conditions, as opposed to laboratory studies. His research on these subjects is summarized in his books Seven Experiments That Could Change the World (1994, second edition 2002), Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999, new edition 2011) and The Sense of Being Stared At (2003, new edition 2012).

In his most recent book (2012), called The Science Delusion in the UK and Science Set Free in the US, he examines the ten dogmas of modern science, and shows how they can be turned into questions that open up new vistas of scientific possibility. This book received the Book of the Year Award from the British Scientific and Medical Network.

In 2000, he was the Steinbach Scholar in Residence at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. From 2005-2010 he was the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge University. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut, and a Fellow of Schumacher College in Devon, England.

He lives in London with his wife Jill Purce. They have two sons, Merlin, a graduate student in Plant Sciences at Cambridge University and a research fellow at The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Cosmo, a musician.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
Rupert Sheldrake (born 1942) is an English biochemist and plant physiologist who has also written or co-written books such as A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance, The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: Fully Updated and Revised, The Physics of Angels: Exploring the Realm Where Science and Spirit Meet. Natural Grace: Dialogues on creation, darkness, and the soul in spirituality and science, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1995 book, "The idea of writing the present book arose ... (when) I was asked what I would do if I ... wanted to support interesting and productive research with limited resources. My answer was to draw up a list of simple, low-cost experiments that could change the world, and then to encourage this research program... I finally selected the seven in this book. So, this is not just a book, but a broad-based research program, with an open invitation to participate."

Here are some additional quotations from the book:

"Committed Skeptics tend to equate the mechanistic worldview with reason itself and are passionate in its defense. They are scientific fundamentalists." (Pg.
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42 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, I do not have much time to respond but I just had to voice some opposition to the single reader review this book has posted. Sure, the experiments outlined are a bit more involved than your run of the mill fourth grade level chemical mixing but they are that much more involved. Sheldrake does not provide many answers but the ones he does provide are exceptionally enlightening. He does something even more important though; he demonstrates that nobody out their in the scientific community really has all the answers they claim to. Steven Hawking may be really smart, but it is Sheldrake who future generations will recognize as the man of our time whose ideas were well beyong his time.
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21 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought that this book gave an intriguing insight into our world, and that it brings up topics that i would never have even thought about had i not read this book. 5 stars for Rupert Sheldrake. He has an unparalleled mind when it comes to evolutionary science
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46 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 15, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this volume because its title suggested that it would encourage hands-on science activities that are essential to good teaching and effective learning. Unfortunately, I discovered on reading it that the author combines a deep antagonism for the scientific "establishment" with credulity for numerous fringe ideas. The first experiment that he suggests tests the hypothesis that your pet uses psychic powers to tell when you'll be home for dinner! Sheldrake frequently presents anecdotes as "evidence". The "do it yourself" promise of the title is broken for the reader who doesn't intend to begin raising homing pidgeons or doesn't happen to work in a laboratory capable of measuring the physical constants (such as the speed of light) to nine significant figures. Far too few cautions about the pitfalls of psychic research are given (in chapters about the feeling of being stared at, or "feeling" the touch of a severed limb). Despite the nearly fatal flaws of the book, I liked a part of its message, that important science can still be done by amateurs. That's about the only aspect of this book that is commendable.
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