For more than a quarter century, there was a surprising and curious intellectual ferment in the basement of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University. This was the PEAR Lab, short for Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, and though its works and contributions to the world of consciousness research are widely known, there is a back story that is worth telling, not only for its intrinsic interest but for the more subtle implications and encouragements it brings. In the interest of full disclosure, the review author was part of the PEAR family for some 22 years.
The PEAR Lab was built on a collaborative foundation laid by Bob Jahn and Brenda Dunne, and grew quickly into a role as a leading research center that was a magnet for professionals interested in the nature and capacities of human consciousness, and for students exploring the range of intellectual possibilities. It also drew ordinary and not so ordinary people from the public, as well as government and industry. The attraction of unusual and sophisticated research was enhanced greatly by a warm and welcoming environment different from what most of us envision as a university laboratory. One might say the place was more PEAR than Lab, and yet it hewed without question to the canons of best practice in scientific terms. Quite a place, deserving of the documentation, descriptions, and anecdotes gathered in Molecular Memories by Robert G. Jahn and Brenda J. Dunne.
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