R. A. McConnell
McConnell was the first president of the Parapsychological Association and a Fellow of the American Psychological Society. He was Research Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
Shortly before the start of WWII, he voluntarily left his position in Philadelphia (possibly not the best career move in light of the peacetime draft and the impending war), and without a guarantee of another position, somehow contacted the Radiation Laboratory at MIT where he was put on the technical staff. During the course of the war, he was in charge of the group developing “Moving Target Indication” (MTI), the technique that used the Doppler shift of the returned radar signal resulting from the motion of an object to differentiate between stationary and moving objects.
It was while he was at MIT, during 1943, that he first became aware of the work that Rhine was doing at Duke, possibly through articles in Time Magazine or other popular magazines. he visited the Widener Library at Harvard to more thoroughly investigate the literature and this was the "trigger" of his subsequent professional lifetime interest and participation in the field.
While he was at MIT, Bob did much of the research that he eventually used as the basis for his Ph.D. in Physics, which he obtained in 1947 at the University of Pittsburgh. He had returned to Pittsburgh in 1946, as the Radiation Laboratory was being closed down.
Though he had heard of JB Rhine and his experiments as early as the 1930s, Bob didn’t become interested in parapsychology until 1943, when the Rhines published their first dice experiments. To a physicist, the idea that the human mind could somehow influence the fall of dice begged for a physics explanation.
After reading up on the Rhine research and the assorted criticisms and commentaries by skeptics, Bob was as taken aback by the tone and arguments of the skeptics as the work they were criticizing. This was Bob’s first encounter with the often religious and irrational response of critics to parapsychology.
It was not until he had completed his own first major psi experiment and spent four years trying unsuccessfully to get it published in a journal of physics (before finding a sympathetic editor in the Journal of Experimental Psychology), that he realized that, with rare exceptions and except within their chosen specialty, scientists are like the rest of humanity… For peace of mind they believe what they want with little regard for evidence.
 Selected works
- Encounters with Parapsychology (1982, ISBN 0-9610232-1-X)
- Parapsychology and Self-Deception in Science (1983, ISBN 0-9610232-2-8)
- An Introduction to Parapsychology in the Context of Science (1983, ISBN 0-9610232-3-6)
- Parapsychology in Retrospect (1987, ISBN 0-9610232-4-4)
- Far Out in the New Age: The Subversion of Science by Cultural Communism (1995, ISBN 0-9610232-6-0)
- Joyride To Infinity: A Scientific Study of the Doomsday Literature (2000, ISBN 1-878465-35-X)
- God.org Are You There?: On the Deeper Meaning of ESP (2001, ISBN 0-9610232-8-7)
- Can We Win This War?: ISLAM (2002, ISBN 0-9610232-9-5)