Hardy, Sir Alister Clavering (1896–1985)
Zoologist who was very active in the field of parapsychology.
Hardy was born February 10, 1896, at Nottingham, England.
He attended Oundle School and Exeter College, Oxford (M.A.,
D.Sc.). In 1920 he was a Christopher Welch Biological Research
Scholar and Oxford Biological Scholar at Stazione Zoologica,
Naples, Italy, after which he became an assistant naturalist with
the Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries,
in England (1921–24) and chief zoologist on the Discovery
expedition (1924–28).
In 1928 Hardy began his lengthy tenure (1928–42) as professor
of zoology and oceanography at University College,
Hull. In 1939 he was awarded the Scientific Medal of the Zoological
Society of England. He spent three years (1942–45) as
regius professor of natural history at the University of Aberdeen,
Scotland, and in 1946 settled at Oxford University as
Linacre Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy,
where he spent the rest of his life. He was knighted in 1957.
In addition to his work on zoology, oceanography, and marine
ecology, Hardy took a keen interest in the significance of
psychical research for biology, and as a member of the council
of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), London, he
sought to bring psychical and biological studies closer together.
He made his views clear in his 1953 article ‘‘Biology and Psychical
Research.’’ He went on to write several important books, including
The Living Stream A Restatement of Evolution Theory and
its Relation to the Spirit of Man (1965); The Divine Flame (1966);
The Challenge of Chance (with R. Harvie and A. Koestler, 1973);
The Biology of God (1975); and The Spiritual Nature of Man
(1979). He served as president of the SPR from 1965 to 1969.
In 1969 Hardy founded the Religious Experience Research
Unit at Manchester College, Oxford, and as its director
he collected and analyzed firsthand accounts of religious experiences.
These he specifically distinguished from psychical experiences
involving ESP. He held a firm religious belief in ‘‘a
Power which is greater than, and in part lies beyond the individual
self.’’
Hardy died in Oxford May 23, 1985, at age 89. The Alister
Hardy Research Center is located at 29-31 George St., Oxford
OX1 2BR, England.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Hardy, Sir Alister. ‘‘Biology and Psychical Research.’’ Proceedings
of the Society for Psychical Research 50, no. 183
(1953).
———. The Biology of God. London Jonathan Cape, 1975.
———. The Divine Flame. London Collins, 1966.
———. The Living Stream A Restatement of Evolution Theory
and its Relation to the Spirit of Man. London Collins, 1965.
———. The Spiritual Nature of Man. Oxford Clarendon,
1979.
———. ‘‘Telepathy and Evolutionary Theory.’’ Journal of
the Society for Psychical Research 35 (1950).
Hardy, Sir Alister, R. Harvie, and Arthur Koestler. The Challenge
of Chance Experiment and Speculations. London Hutchinson,
1973.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology.
New York Helix Press, 1964.

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