Press Release

Institute of Noetic Sciences Announces Winners of the $100,000 Linda G. O’Bryant Noetic Sciences Research Prize

NOVATO, Calif. – June 27, 2023 The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is delighted to announce that the Linda G. O’Bryant Noetic Sciences Research Prize was awarded on Saturday, June 24, 2023 to three recipients. This groundbreaking prize recognizes leading-edge research in the exploration of consciousness. The winners were selected from a pool of 108 applicants from around the world, each of whom put forth innovative testable theories that push the boundaries of our understanding of consciousness.

After carefully considering and analyzing the top three applications, the judging committee decided to evenly split the $100,000 prize. The loss of a 25-year wager made by neuroscientist Christof Koch with philosopher David Chalmers that we would understand how the brain achieves consciousness by now, announced at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC) the day before our prize event, adds relevance to these investigations. “We’re excited to recognize these three proposals for the quality of insight, scientific rigor, and uniqueness of perspective they provide,” said IONS scientist Arnaud Delorme.  

The winning proposals are:

Seeing Without Eyes by Alex Gomez-Marin
The prevailing scientific belief is that the mind arises solely from brain activity, ignoring anomalous  phenomena like ‘extra-ocular vision’ (EOV) – the ability to see without physical eyes. This research proposal sets out to defy conventional wisdom through meticulously designed experiments seeking to demonstrate and quantify EOV, particularly in individuals who are blind. Drawing inspiration from Jamesian theories of brain function, which posit that the brain facilitates consciousness rather than produces it, this study endeavors to unveil the profound depth of human existence beyond the confines of the brain. By shedding light on the enigmatic connection between mind and matter, the proposal aims to unveil the pivotal role the brain plays in bridging these realms, unraveling the true essence of what it means to be human.

Conscious Agents and the Subatomic World by Donald David Hoffman, Chetan Prakash, and Benjamin Knepper
The boundaries of our understanding are expanding, challenging traditional notions of reality. Mathematical structures like amplituhedra and decorated permutations have emerged as potentially more significant than the traditional concept of spacetime. In this model, consciousness takes center stage as fundamental, with conscious agents interacting through Markovian dynamics, shaping spacetime as a dynamic interface. To validate this bold hypothesis, a computational experiment is proposed, aiming to demonstrate how the dynamics of these conscious agents can predict the intricate distribution and behavior of quarks and gluons across diverse spatial and temporal scales. This paradigm-shifting proposal opens new doors to unravel the mysteries of our universe and invites us to reevaluate our place within it.

Detecting Deviations from Random Activity as Indications of Consciousness Beyond the Brain by Dr. Wolfhardt Janu, Dr. Vasileios Basios, Dr. Pier Francesco Moretti, Dr. Peter Merry, Dr. Annette Grathoff, and Professor Vicente Arraez
These researchers propose that consciousness extends beyond the brain, interacting with the physical world beyond spacetime. Using Organized Random Event Generators (OREGs), they detect measurable disturbances known as non-local synchronicities. The “Ritual series” experiment explores ritual-related patterns, while the “ICU/Hospice series” connects OREGs to patient rooms, expecting synchronized data with significant events. This proposal provides insightful perspectives on the profound relationship between consciousness and the physical world, reshaping our understanding of existence.

“Expanding our understanding of the origins and nature of consciousness isn’t just an academic pursuit.  What we may discover has real implications for how humanity chooses to move forward at this critical time on our planet,” said Claudia Welss, IONS Board Chair and Interim CEO. “Thanks to the visionary generosity of Linda G. O’Bryant, this IONS prize can help pave the way for a paradigm that transcends scientific materialism, and demonstrates (with apologies to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) that while the arc of scientific discovery is long, it bends toward noetics.”

The judging committee faced significant challenges in selecting the winners. However, they ultimately decided to celebrate the diversity of ideas within the applicant pool by sharing the prize among the top three. This decision is consistent with IONS’ mission to encourage inquiry, openness, inclusiveness and collaboration in the field of noetic sciences.

The application window for the 2024 Linda G. O’Bryant Noetic Sciences Research Prize will open in early 2024. To stay up-to-date on all the latest news and announcements, and find information on the application process, eligibility criteria, and important dates, visit

Join us this fall as IONS hosts an online conference to celebrate its 50th anniversary, bringing together visionaries, researchers, and thought leaders from around the globe. Discover groundbreaking insights, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and forge meaningful connections 

About IONS

The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a nonprofit research center and direct experience lab specializing in the intersection of science and profound human experience. Founded in 1973 by Apollo 14 astronaut and 6th man to walk on the moon, Edgar Mitchell, IONS is dedicated to exploring the frontiers of consciousness and extended human capacities to promote a more holistic view of human potential and the nature of reality. For more information, visit


Lauren Ruiz
UPRAISE Marketing + Public Relations for IONS


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