Jahn, Robert G(eorge) (1930-)

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Jahn, Robert G(eorge) (1930-)

Engineering professor and rocket propulsion specialist at Princeton University. Born on April 1, 1930. Jahn branched out into investigation, under strict laboratory conditions, of micro-PK effects in parapsychology. Following publication of his parapsychological studies, he was demoted from the post of dean of the engineering faculty at Princeton to an associate professorship. However, his studies are widely respected by parapsychologists for their scope and rigor. He continued experimenting at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, funded by the McDonnell Foundation and the Petzer Institute.

Jahn's experiments, conducted over 14 years, during which period he devised increasingly sophisticated safeguards against charges of possible error or fraud, are based on a random event generator featuring the white noise emitted by an electrical diode. The noise produced is sampled a thousand times a second to ascertain whether it is in a positive or negative value phase, the probability being roughly equal, even making allowance for occasional significant deviations, which can also be calculated. The setup amounts to a kind of electrical "heads or tails" choice. The subject sits in front of the generator and attempts to mentally effect a positive or negative registration, and the result is charted on a computer screen.

In later macro-PK experiments, Jahn created a random mechanical cascade, resembling a pinball machine, in which 9,000 polystyrene balls drop through a grid of nylon pegs, bouncing about to collect in time at the bottom. The balls should normally end up with a classic Gaussian (normal), bell-shaped distribution. Jahn's experiments show that PK subjects tend to produce slight deviations to one side.

One remarkable recent development is Jahn's experiments with subjects attempting to influence his devices from as far away as Kenya, New Zealand, England, and Russia, sitting for an hour at an agreed time and attempting to alter output according to a prearranged pattern. Distance does not appear to affect the results.

Jahn has also attempted to assist other experimenters by creating inexpensive solid-state versions of his random event generators that can be used to replicate his findings.