Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and philosopher. His most recent book (2012), The Science Delusion, examines ten dogmas of modern science, showing how they can be turned into questions that open up scientific possibilities. He currently lives in London with his wife Jill Purce and they have two sons, Merlin and Cosmo.
Rupert obtained a degree in natural sciences at Cambridge University in 1963, and was also awarded the University Botany Prize. He was then a Frank Knox Fellow at Harvard University where he studied philosophy and history of science before returning to Cambridge to undertake a PhD in biochemistry, which he obtained in 1967. He then became a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge (1967-74), where he was Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology.
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. He then returned to Cambridge University with a Royal Society Rosenheim Research Fellowship where he discovered the mechanism of polar auxin transport in 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 to 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.
Since 1981, he has continued research on developmental and cell biology, investigating unexplained aspects of animal behaviour, including how pigeons find their way home, the telepathic abilities of 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 with telephone calls, and premonitions. His research on these subjects is summarised in his books Seven Experiments That Could Change the World, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, The Sense of Being Stared At.
In 2013 Rupert’s presentation for a TED event was posted by in a special section of the TED website with a cautionary message about the lack of foundation for his attack on science and the message ‘We invite scientists, skeptics, knowledge-seekers and supporters — and Sheldrake himself, if he’s willing — to view and discuss the talk.’